White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts

Daniel M. Wegner, Author Viking Books $18.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-670-82522-6
When Wegner instructed participants in a psychology experiment not to think about a white bear, their minds, naturally, filled up with white, furry images. Starting from that simple exercise, this rewarding and informal essay takes a fresh, unconventional look at the ways we deal with unwanted thoughts and relates those mental processes to mood swings, addictions, depression and day-to-day survival. A psychology professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, Tex., Wegner finds that the common ploy of using self-distraction to banish undesired thoughts or impulses often offers a ``quick fix'' that only masks an underlying problem. His investigation helps explain why people who return home from detoxification centers or ``fat farms'' often find their self-control efforts sadly short-lived. Propelled by mental exercises and diagrams, the reader is invited to explore the effects of innuendo, willful ignorance, prejudicial belief and obsessions. First serial to Psychology Today. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 207 pages - 978-0-89862-223-2
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-14-011599-4
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