Effect of glucose on the suppression and post-suppression rebound of stereotypes.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The suppression of unwanted thoughts is an effortful process. An ironic effect of this process is that the unwanted thoughts can become hyper-accessibility after a period of their suppression, known as “post-suppression rebound”. In the present study the impact of providing energy (through a glucose drink) on post-suppression rebound was investigated. One hundred and twenty participants participated in the main study, and another 30 participants served as a baseline group. Half of the participants in the main study were given a drink containing glucose and the other half was given a placebo drink containing an artificial sweetener. All participants wrote a passage about a “day in the life” of a gay male, with half the participants directed to avoid using stereotypes. A subsequent lexical decision task measured activation of stereotypes. Finally, a measure of prejudice was given to account for individual differences. Neither the direction to avoid using stereotypes nor the glucose resulted in lower stereotypicality of the “day in life” passages. Furthermore, response times during the lexical decision task did not differ between any of the main conditions or the baseline condition. However, the combination of both glucose and directed suppression did result in more positive passages, suggesting that the combination assists in reducing negative stereotype usage. Results are discussed in terms of stereotype usage and suppression and prejudice level.