Suppressing thoughts about chocolate

Int J Eat Disord. 1999 Jul;26(1):21-7. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(199907)26:1<21::aid-eat3>;2-7.


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?

Methods: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Behavior*
  • Cacao*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Thinking*