On the ability to inhibit complex thoughts: A stop-signal study of arithmetic

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to determine whether the stop-signal procedure of Logan (1983, 1985) is sensitive enough to detect the presence of inhibited thoughts when thoughts are in fact inhibited, and to determine whether the stop-signal procedure is susceptible to Zeigarnik-type effects. Subjects added several columns of nine digits and were interrupted occasionally. A subsequent recognition memory test showed that interrupted problems were remembered less accurately than completed problems and that memory for interrupted problems was worse the earlier the interruption occurred. These results suggest that the stop-signal procedure is sensitive enough to detect thoughts that actually were inhibited and that the stop-signal paradigm is not susceptible to Zeigarnik-type effects even when it is applied to complex tasks.

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Correspondence to Gordon D. Logan.

Additional information

This research was supported by Grant U0035 to Gordon Logan from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. We would like to thank Jane Zbrodoff, Henry Roediger, and Richard Schweikert for comments on the article.

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Logan, G.D., Barber, C.Y. On the ability to inhibit complex thoughts: A stop-signal study of arithmetic. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 23, 371–373 (1985). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03330187

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Keywords

  • Word Pair
  • Stop Signal
  • Repetition Priming
  • Signal Trial
  • Inhibited Thought