Suppression of Negative Experiences: Cognitive Cost

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Title: Suppression of Negative Experiences: Cognitive Cost
Author: Bratton, Kevin Michael
Advisors: Katherine Klein Ph.D., Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between suppression of different types of intrusive thoughts and performance on an attentional processing task. Participants were randomly assigned to suppress either a neutral, a non-personal negative, or a personally relevant negative experience. The study was a 3 X 3 experimental design with target thought as a between groups variable and task difficulty (low, medium, and hard) as a within participants variable. Participants completed a sentence verification task as they continued to suppress their target thought. Although participants had equal success at suppressing the different thoughts, most experienced some intrusive thoughts. The negative experience conditions slowed on the sentence task compared to those in the neutral condition. Higher levels of intrusive and avoidant thinking about the experiences were found in the two negative experience conditions compared to the neutral condition. Higher levels of intrusiveness were associated with more suppression failures during the Silly Sentences task. Findings are discussed in terms of Wegner's Ironic Processing model.
Date: 2003-04-15
Degree: MS
Discipline: Psychology

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