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Suppressed, but Not Forgotten

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2011
Author Meier B, Konig A, Parak S, Henke K,
Project Does slow wave sleep strengthen the memory traces of both consciously and nonconsciously encoded episodes?
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal SWISS JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY
Volume (Issue) 70(1)
Page(s) 5 - 11
Title of proceedings SWISS JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY

Abstract

The goal of this study was to investigate the impact of thought suppression across a one-week interval. In two experiments with 80 university students each, we used the think/no-think paradigm in which participants initially learn a list of word pairs (cue-target associations). Then they are presented with some of the cue words again and they are either to respond with the target word or to avoid thinking about it. In the final test phase, memory for the initially learned cue-target pairs is tested. In Experiment 1, type of memory test was manipulated (i.e., direct vs. indirect). In Experiment 2, type of no-think instructions was manipulated (i.e., suppress vs. substitute). Overall, our results showed poorer memory for no-think and control items compared to think items across experiments and conditions. Critically, however, more no-think than control items were remembered after the one-week interval in the direct, but not in the indirect test (Experiment 1) and with thought suppression, but not thought substitution instructions (Experiment 2). We suggest that during thought suppression a brief reactivation of the learned association may lead to reconsolidation of the memory trace and hence to better retrieval of suppress than control items in the long term.
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