Consciousness and Cognition 22 (3):1003-1012 (2013)

Abstract
The current research investigates the interaction between thought suppression and individuals’ explicit awareness of their thoughts. Participants in three experiments attempted to suppress thoughts of a prior romantic relationship and their success at doing so was measured using a combination of self-catching and experience-sampling. In addition to thoughts that individuals spontaneously noticed, individuals were frequently caught engaging in thoughts of their previous partner at experience-sampling probes. Furthermore, probe-caught thoughts were: associated with stronger decoupling of attention from the environment, more likely to occur under cognitive load, more frequent for individuals with a desire to reconcile, and associated with individual differences in the tendency to suppress thoughts. Together, these data suggest that individuals can lack meta-awareness that they have begun to think about a topic they are attempting to suppress, providing novel insight into the cognitive processes that are involved in attempting to control undesired mental states
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DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2013.06.009
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