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Lecture 13

PSYC 333 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Electrodermal Activity, Veal, Cognitive Load


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 333
Professor
Jennifer Bartz
Lecture
13

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PSYC333 Lecture 13 - Mar. 6
Mental Control
Mental Control - Wegner:
Goal pursuit: efforts to control external world
Mental control: efforts to control internal world
Goal pursuit requires mental control
E.g., don’t think about chocolate cake, cigarette, casino, etc.)
Requires an individual to suppress thoughts
How does mental control work?
What are the mechanisms underlying mental control/thought suppression?
Requires a state of simultaneous knowing and not knowing
Mental control is an “ironic process”
Attempts to suppress thoughts result in subsequent rebound of absorption with those thoughts
(e.g., dieting often causes subsequent overeating)
Does thought suppression cause a “rebound effect” that increases subsequent expression of sup-
pressed thought?
Paradoxical Effects of Thought Suppression - Wegner, Schneider, Carter & White:
Stream of conscious task: verbalize thoughts for the next 5 minutes
Manipulate (after practice):
Suppress thought then express thought
Express though then suppress thought
Does Suppression Increase Subsequent Expression of Suppressed Thought?
Study 1
Stream of consciousness task: verbalize thoughts for next 5 minutes
Manipulate:
Suppress thought then express thought, but “if you happen to think of a white bear…”
Express though then suppress thought
Try not to think of white bear…”
“...ring bell every time you think or talk about white bear”
Then, “try to think of white bear” (and ring bell, etc.)
Expression 1st condition got instruction in reverse order
Results:
Ps who first suppressed thought more about the white bear during the subsequent express
phase

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Ps who expressed second (suppressed first) did not decrease their thoughts or mentions
of white bear between 1 and 5 mins. This demonstrated the rebound effect
Study 2
Stream of consciousness task: verbalize thoughts for next 5 minutes
Manipulate:
Suppress thought then express thought
Express though then suppress thought
Third condition: but “if you happen to think of a white bear…” then think about a red
car (Volkswagen)
Try not to think of white bear…”
“...ring bell every time you think or talk about white bear”
Then, “try to think of white bear” (and ring bell, etc.)
Expression 1st condition got instruction in reverse order
Results:
When Ps were given focused distractor (positive cued to distract themselves), they did not
show the rebound effect. Only Ps with negative cueing suffer from rebound effect
Why Rebound Effect?
Attempts to distract involve thinking without focus
Told what to avoid, but not what to focus on
Negative cueing:
What am I doing?
Trying not to think about the white bear
I’ll think about light bulb...boring…
What am I doing?
Not thinking about the white bear
Everything becomes associated (cognitively linked) with negative cue
When prohibition is lifted, prior negative cueing facilitates task of thinking about white bear
Rebound effects should be eliminated if given positive cue because person not reminded of sup-
pressed thought by the thought of the many other cues in the environment…
Mental Control:
Intention to suppress a thought involves operation of two cognitive processes:
Controlled distractor search designed to keep distractor in consciousness
Automatic target search that keeps eye out for unwanted thought
If automatic search finds target, controlled distractor ready to step in with distractor
Automatic target search makes person continually sensitive to unwanted thought
Feedback Mechanism:
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