The Psychophysiology of Intrusive Cognitions: Comparing Thought Suppression Vs Acceptance

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/194621
Title:
The Psychophysiology of Intrusive Cognitions: Comparing Thought Suppression Vs Acceptance
Author:
Santerre, Craig Lee
Issue Date:
2007
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Intrusive cognitions are a natural occurrence within our stream of consciousness, however, when they become repetitive, negative, distressing, and difficult to control, they may warrant clinical concern. Thought suppression is a common control strategy used to manage intrusive thoughts even though research suggests it may actually exacerbate the problem. Conversely, acceptance-based interventions have gained recent attention as an alternative strategy for managing distressing internal experiences. Only preliminary research has focused on the psycho- and neurophysiological bases of intrusive cognitions, and their relationship to cognitive control strategies. Evidence suggests that the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) may be a brain region critically involved in this process. The present investigation compared the subjective, behavioral, and physiological effects of a thought suppression and acceptance strategy in a sample of university students with high or low obsessive-compulsive (OC) characteristics who were exposed to an emotion-evoking film clip. Participants were instructed either to suppress or accept any intrusive cognitions during a rest period after the film clip, while monitoring for the number of intrusions. Next, psychophysiological signals and reaction times were measured while participants performed a variant of the Stroop task. The commission of errors during a forced choice task generates an error-related negativity (ERN), which is believed to index activity in the ACC. Results showed that self-reported intrusions during the rest interval were greater for the acceptance group and the high-OC group. Correlations suggested that participants who reported more effort at suppression also indicated more distress about their thoughts, whereas those who reported more acceptance indicated less distress. During Stroop task errors, the ERN was apparent as a maximal frontal negativity, and was larger for the suppression group than the acceptance group at a frontal scalp site (Fz), but not a central scalp site (Cz). Correlations between self-reported intrusions at rest and ERN amplitude indicated that participants who reported fewer intrusions demonstrated enhanced ERNs, a marker for increased ACC activity. These findings may be interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that thought suppression is associated with increased ACC activity and greater self-reported discomfort with the intrusions.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Thought Suppression; Acceptance; Intrusive Cognitions; ERN; Psychophysiology
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Psychology; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Allen, John J.B.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleThe Psychophysiology of Intrusive Cognitions: Comparing Thought Suppression Vs Acceptanceen_US
dc.creatorSanterre, Craig Leeen_US
dc.contributor.authorSanterre, Craig Leeen_US
dc.date.issued2007en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractIntrusive cognitions are a natural occurrence within our stream of consciousness, however, when they become repetitive, negative, distressing, and difficult to control, they may warrant clinical concern. Thought suppression is a common control strategy used to manage intrusive thoughts even though research suggests it may actually exacerbate the problem. Conversely, acceptance-based interventions have gained recent attention as an alternative strategy for managing distressing internal experiences. Only preliminary research has focused on the psycho- and neurophysiological bases of intrusive cognitions, and their relationship to cognitive control strategies. Evidence suggests that the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) may be a brain region critically involved in this process. The present investigation compared the subjective, behavioral, and physiological effects of a thought suppression and acceptance strategy in a sample of university students with high or low obsessive-compulsive (OC) characteristics who were exposed to an emotion-evoking film clip. Participants were instructed either to suppress or accept any intrusive cognitions during a rest period after the film clip, while monitoring for the number of intrusions. Next, psychophysiological signals and reaction times were measured while participants performed a variant of the Stroop task. The commission of errors during a forced choice task generates an error-related negativity (ERN), which is believed to index activity in the ACC. Results showed that self-reported intrusions during the rest interval were greater for the acceptance group and the high-OC group. Correlations suggested that participants who reported more effort at suppression also indicated more distress about their thoughts, whereas those who reported more acceptance indicated less distress. During Stroop task errors, the ERN was apparent as a maximal frontal negativity, and was larger for the suppression group than the acceptance group at a frontal scalp site (Fz), but not a central scalp site (Cz). Correlations between self-reported intrusions at rest and ERN amplitude indicated that participants who reported fewer intrusions demonstrated enhanced ERNs, a marker for increased ACC activity. These findings may be interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that thought suppression is associated with increased ACC activity and greater self-reported discomfort with the intrusions.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectThought Suppressionen_US
dc.subjectAcceptanceen_US
dc.subjectIntrusive Cognitionsen_US
dc.subjectERNen_US
dc.subjectPsychophysiologyen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePsychologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairAllen, John J.B.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKaszniak, Alfred W.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberArkowitz, Harold S.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGothard, Katien_US
dc.contributor.committeememberJacobs, W. Jakeen_US
dc.identifier.proquest2329en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659748199en_US
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