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Tip: To sort articles by year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Turnbull, O. (2001). Research Digest: Emotion, Repression, and Psychiatry. Neuropsychoanalysis, 3(2):257-261.

(2001). Neuropsychoanalysis, 3(2):257-261

Research Digest: Emotion, Repression, and Psychiatry

Review by:
Oliver Turnbull

Featured Article

Anderson, M. C., & Green, C. (2001), Suppressing unwanted memories by executive control. Nature, 410:366-369.

Conway, M. (2001). Repression revisited. Nature, 410:319-320.

This paper (with associated commentary by Martin Conway) presents “an elegant way of experimentally inducing memory repression” (p. 319), using a paradigm that provides a more convincing demonstration of repression in the laboratory than the many previous attempts (primarily in the 1960s and 1970s). Anderson and Green asked subjects to learn paired-associates (ordeal-roach), and either to think, or not-think, of he pairs (by analogy with the classic go/no-go paradigm). Unsurprisingly, recall was worst for the no-think pairs, presumably because avoidance had made these pairs less practiced. In a crucial second test of recall, subjects also failed to recall the forgotten word with cues that involved only this ‘ignored” item (e.g., insectroach), rather than involving the entire pair. While many in the analytic community will be unimpressed by the affective blandness of the stimuli, the high profile publication of the finding in Nature is likely to kick-start an interest in repression amongst the experimental psychology community. Given that the authors also suggest a neurobiological substrate for the process (principally involving dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, p. 368) it also opens this issue to the neuroscience community. As Conway points out, if statistically significant effects can be found for these rather innocuous stimuli, then greater effects are likely to be found for affectively loaded memories.

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