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.