Suppressing thoughts about chocolate

Lucy Johnston, Cynthia M. Bulik, Vivienne Anstiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Thought suppression frequently results in subsequent hyperaccessibility of the suppressed thoughts. This study investigated whether this effect transfers to behavior. Does suppressing thoughts result in a subsequent increase in the performance of behaviors related to those thoughts? Method: Twenty chocolate cravers and 22 noncravers were instructed to suppress chocolate-related thoughts in an articulated thoughts task or they were given no specific instructions. Participants then completed a computer-based task which yielded chocolate rewards. Results: Both cravers and noncravers could suppress chocolate-related thoughts when instructed to do so. Both groups of participants showed greater performance, and hence earned more chocolate, in the suppression than control condition (p < .05). Discussion: Behavioral control may follow many of the same ironic pathways traced by mental control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes


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