Research Repository

See what's under the surface

Modelling the direct and indirect effects of thought suppression on personal choice

Hooper, Nic; Stewart, Ian; Duffy, Cormac; Freegard, Gary; McHugh, Louise

Authors

Nic Hooper Nic.Hooper@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Ian Stewart

Cormac Duffy

Gary Freegard

Louise McHugh

Abstract

The current study sought to provide an empirical model of the direct and indirect effects of thought
suppression on personal choice. In Experiment 1 (direct effect) participants were required to make a
preference on a dichotomous choice task. After making their choice they were instructed to repeat the
selection task while suppressing all thoughts of a target word which was programmed to appear each
time they selected their originally preferred item. Results showed that participants gradually changed
their original preference to avoid coming into contact with the target unwanted thought. Experiment 2
(indirect effect) extended Experiment 1 by examining whether a similar effect might be seen via trained
and derived relations respectively and by comparing possible effects seen in original target, trained and
derived conditions with patterns seen in a control condition. In Experiment 2 participants in each of
four groups (target, trained, derived and control) were first trained and tested for the formation of three
derived equivalence relations using a match-to-sample procedure. They then received exposure to
suppression and choice phases similar to the protocol employed in Experiment 1. However this
protocol differed in terms of the presence or absence of a stimulus that might function to depress value
congruent choice and it differed also in terms of the nature of the stimulus (i.e., target, trained or
derived). Findings showed that participants in each of the three experimental conditions demonstrated
depressed values choice in comparison with the control condition. Implications and future research
directions are discussed.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 10, 2012
Journal Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science
Print ISSN 2212-1447
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Issue 1-2
Pages 73-82
Institution Citation Hooper, N., Stewart, I., Duffy, C., Freegard, G., & McHugh, L. (2012). Modelling the direct and indirect effects of thought suppression on personal choice. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 1(1-2), 73-82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2012.06.001
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2012.06.001
Keywords thought suppression, derived relational responding, personal choice, values
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2012.06.001