Thought suppression, memory, and interrogative suggestibility

E.G.C. Rassin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Experimental studies often demonstrate that thought suppression (i.e., consciously trying to avoid having certain thoughts), paradoxically, leads to hyperaccessibility of the to-be-suppressed thought. On the other hand, thought suppression has been claimed to possess memory-undermining qualities. The present study sought to investigate the potential memory-undermining effect of thought suppression. Thereto, the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (GSS; Gudjonsson, 1984; Personality and Individual Differences) was administered to 56 undergraduate students. Participants were appointed to one of three conditions: a suppression condition (n = 20), a thinking condition (n = 19), and a no-instruction control condition (n = 17). The memory performance and suggestibility tendencies of the three groups were compared. Results indicate that thought suppression has little or no influence on episodic memory or suggestibility. More specifically, thought suppression resulted in decreased accuracy of free recall compared to thinking, but not compared to no-instruction control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-55
JournalPsychology Crime & Law
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


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