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Can't stop thinking: The role of cognitive control in suppression-induced forgetting.

Authors
  • Chen, Suya1
  • Mao, Xinrui2
  • Wu, Yanhong3
  • 1 School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China. Electronic address: [email protected]. , (China)
  • 2 Collage of Elementary Education, Capital Normal University, Beijing, 100871, China. Electronic address: [email protected]. , (China)
  • 3 School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China; Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Key Laboratory of Machine Perception, Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China. Electronic address: [email protected]. , (China)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Neuropsychologia
Publication Date
Jul 29, 2022
Volume
172
Pages
108274–108274
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2022.108274
PMID: 35623449
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The ability to control unwanted memories is essential for emotional regulation and maintaining mental health. Previous evidence indicates that suppressing retrieval, which recruits executive control mechanisms to prevent unwanted memories entering consciousness, can cause forgetting, termed suppression-induced forgetting (SIF). Since these executive mechanisms involve multiple mental operations, we hypothesize that the efficacy of SIF may be limited by individuals' capacity limitation of cognitive control. Here, we tested this hypothesis. Participants were assigned to two groups based on the median of their cognitive control capacity (CCC, estimated by the backward masking majority function task) and performed the think/no-think task with electrophysiological signals recorded. The results showed that the SIF effect was observed only in the high CCC group but not in the low CCC group. In accordance, repeated suppression attempts also resulted in a steeper reduction in intrusive thoughts in the high CCC group. Furthermore, ERP analysis revealed a decrease in recollection-related late parietal positivity (LPP) under the no-think condition in the high CCC group. A mediation analysis revealed that the reduced intrusive memories mediated the effect of CCC on SIF. These findings suggest that suppressing retrieval could reduce traces of the unwanted memories, making them less intrusive and harder to recall. More importantly, successful SIF is constrained by the capacity of cognitive control which may be used to ensure the coordination of multiple cognitive processes during suppression. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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