Ruminators (Unlike Others) Fail to Show Suppression-Induced Forgetting on Indirect Measures of Memory

Paula T. Hertel, Amaris Maydon, Ashley Ogilvie, Nilly Mor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Suppression is a useful everyday skill leading to the clinically important outcome of forgetting. Suppression-induced forgetting, investigated with the think/no-think (TNT) paradigm, is typically demonstrated on direct tests of memory, even though indirect tests are often more ecologically valid. We report results from two TNT experiments terminating in indirect tests—tests that seem not to measure memory. For a subset of the participants in Experiment 1, latencies to rate word valence were delayed by flankers previously learned but not by flankers previously learned and then suppressed on 16 occasions. For a similar subset in Experiment 2, cue meaning denoted by free associations reflected the meaning established during learning, but less so when targets had been suppressed. These subsets showing suppression effects were students who did not describe themselves as ruminators. That ruminators failed to show “forgetting” on either test suggests that ruminative habits cannot be easily overcome by practicing suppression.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)872-881
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • depression
  • forgetting
  • habit
  • rumination
  • suppression

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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