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White Bear Exp.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Boston Redsox, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    This study was taken by Harvard Dr Wagner

    This is how it broke down: One group was first told to not think about white bears for five minutes. Then they were supposed to do the opposite: spend the next five minutes trying to think about white bears, all while engaging in the stream of consciousness exercises. The other group was instructed initially to think about white bears and then to not think about them during the second five minutes while also continuing the stream of consciousness exercises. In both groups the participants could diminish the frequency of white bear thoughts when asked to suppress them, but no one could completely get rid of these thoughts. In the “expression” part of the experiment (where volunteers were instructed to think about white bears), the number of white bear thoughts increased in both groups. In the group who was initially asked to suppress the white bear thoughts there was a dramatic increase in the thoughts during the expression phase compared to the group who was asked to think about white bears first. The term “rebound” effect was used to describe this large increase. When asked not to think about something, “not thinking” becomes associated with many other cues. - The incidence of white bear thoughts actually increased over the five-minute span of expression. Wegner’s experiment shows that trying not to think about something will markedly increase the chances of your thinking about it. I feel that the insight provided by this experiment is key to the whole mental health aspect of chronic pain. There is a lot of anxiety and extreme frustration that accompanies the chronic pain experience and also a lot of terrible indescribable thoughts, thoughts that are usually so disturbing that we feel we have to suppress them. Well guess what? You are not only fooling yourself
     

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