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Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2006 Oct;54(4):488-99.

Enhancing thought suppression with hypnosis.

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School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


Much research indicates that attempts to suppress thoughts lead to increased accessibility of those thoughts, especially when additional cognitive load is present. On the premise that hypnosis may permit more effective management of cognitive load, it was hypothesized that hypnosis may enhance more effective thought suppression. The present research examined whether the obstacle of cognitive load could be bypassed using hypnosis to facilitate successful thought suppression. Thirty-nine high and 40 low hypnotizable participants were hypnotized and received either a suppression instruction or no instruction for a memory of an embarrassing experience and subsequently completed a sentence-unscrambling task that indexed accessibility of embarrassing thoughts. Whereas lows instructed to suppress displayed a delayed increase in suppressed thoughts, highs did not. These findings support the proposition that hypnosis facilitates thought suppression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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