Cognitive and behavioural effects of thought suppression

Led by George Georgiou and Lia Kvavilashvili and collaborations with Dr James Erskine & Dr Stephanie Schmeer, this research examines avoidant strategies, such as thought suppression, that are typically involved when attempting to reduce problematic thoughts or behaviours, for example thought intrusions, eating, and smoking.

Our research examines the potential cognitive mechanisms involved in this phenomenon, and the rebound effects that follow from this form of avoidant self-regulation. The paradoxical effect often found after thought suppression is an increase in the to-be-avoided thought or behaviour (behavioural rebound). Our applied research has used both experimental lab-based and naturalistic approaches, and show that the associated behaviour increases the most after engaging in thought suppression, compared to groups expressing or monitoring the same thoughts.

Current projects

  • Models to account for post suppression rebound effects
  • Thought suppression, working memory, intrusive thoughts, and ageing
  • Repressive coping, ageing, and wellbeing