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The Gravity of Unwanted Thoughts: Asymmetric Priming Effects in Thought Suppression

Najmi, Sadia; Wegner, Daniel
Fonte: Elsevier Publicador: Elsevier
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An unwanted thought appears to be cued easily by reminders in the environment but often the thought itself seems to cue nothing more than the desire to eliminate it from consciousness. This unusual asymmetry in the way unwanted thoughts are linked to other thoughts was the focus of the present research. Participants who were asked to suppress a thought or to concentrate on it completed a task assessing the influence of priming on reaction time (RT) for word/non-word judgments. Results revealed that suppression under cognitive load produced asymmetric priming: Priming with the associate of a suppressed word speeded RT for the suppressed word, but priming with a suppressed word did not speed RT for associated words. These findings suggest that thought suppression induces an unusual form of cognitive accessibility in which movement of activation toward the suppressed thought from associates is facilitated but movement of activation away from the suppressed thought to associates is undermined.; Psychology