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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Joel Alexander

Abstract

Thought suppression is a mental control strategy used in attempt to suppress unwanted thoughts. Unfortunately, it often causes a paradoxical increase in the frequency of such thoughts, both immediately (as an ‘initial enhancement effect’) and after thought suppression efforts have been ended (‘ironic rebound effect’). Research surrounding the role played by the valence of the relevant material on thought suppression efficacy has been limited. Despite this limitation, the current paper proposes to review the available thought suppression-valence literature and, from it, determine the role played by target valence on thought suppression efficacy and other suppression outcomes. Considered overall, the extant literature appears to suggest that target valence is not a major determinant of thought suppression outcomes, although further research is needed to confirm this theory.

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