A recent study shows that thoughts that are suppressed return with greater
strength and possibly more resistance to being avoided in the future. Having
people avoid thinking prejudicial thoughts either in structured exercises
or in informal ways is likely to create a situation for "prejudicial
Use thought replacement not thought suppression as suggested in Part II video
A of Beyond Prejudice. As the program suggests, thought replacement is more
powerful and more effective in reducing prejudicial thoughts. For more information
on this technique consult the handout, Changing Personal Patterns of Prejudicial
Behavior. If this recent research had found that anything suggested within
Beyond Prejudice was likely to result in harmful results you would have been
notified of that as well.
IllustrationTry not to think of a favorite food. If you like chocolate, try
real hard to not imagine the color and smell of chocolate. Try to not imagine
the texture and the feel of chocolate in your hand and in your mouth. Try
to keep that thought out of your mind all together. The evidence seems to
be that if you work really hard at this task then you will have stronger thoughts
of chocolate in the future. The idea being that you will have chocolate image
rebound. This chocolate exercise might work real well if you were trying to
avoid thoughts of celery but according to a recent study be less than helpful
in reducing ones' thoughts of chocolate. While this may seem to be a silly
exercise the dynamic here is important. Giving people the idea that they should
avoid prejudicial thoughts is likely to have the same effect. Telling people,
suggesting or implying that they should not think a specific way or should
feel guilty if they do think prejudicial thoughts is basically the same process.
Thus we need to replace prejudicial thoughts not suppress them..
Example of replacement
Each time you encounter chocolate imagine the texture of celery, the light
green, the nearly white color of fresh crisp celery. Imagine the sounds of
the crisp celery crunching in your mouth and the moisture being released with
all its freshness. Imagine the celery strings and the sounds of the fresh
wet celery as you crunch it in your mouth releasing its moisture and its healthy
SummaryReplacement is more effective than suppression.
ReferenceMacrae, C. Neil & Bodenhausen, Galen V.& Milne, Alan B. &
Jetten, Jolanda "Out of Mind but Back in Sight: Stereotypes on the Rebound"
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 67, No. 5, 808-817
here to return to the Beyond Prejudice home page, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Can Reduce Prejudicial Behavior
Reducing Prejudices within an Organization
Impacts of Prejudicial Behavior
Your Knowledge of Prejudices
FAQ, Alerts, ect.
Dynamics of Prejudicial Behavior
Your Own Prejudices
Connection to Others, the Earth and Future
Publications,Training Materials and Workshops
Your Prejudicial Behavior
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