White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts: Suppression, Obsession, and the Psychology of Mental Control

Overview

In a series of experiments, Daniel M. Wegner told subjects not to think about white bears. Of course, they found it impossible to avoid thinking of the bears\m-\just as it often seems impossible to stop thinking about forbidden foods, a social blunder, or a lost love. Drawing on theories of William James, Freud, and Dewey, as well as on studies in mood control, cognitive therapy, and artificial intelligence, this enlightening book explores the reasons unwanted, embarrassing, or ...
See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$15.51
BN.com price
(Save 18%)$18.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $3.02   
  • New (4) from $7.08   
  • Used (15) from $3.02   
Sending request ...

Overview

In a series of experiments, Daniel M. Wegner told subjects not to think about white bears. Of course, they found it impossible to avoid thinking of the bears\m-\just as it often seems impossible to stop thinking about forbidden foods, a social blunder, or a lost love. Drawing on theories of William James, Freud, and Dewey, as well as on studies in mood control, cognitive therapy, and artificial intelligence, this enlightening book explores the reasons unwanted, embarrassing, or frightening notions are so irresistible.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Insightful, provocative, and firmly grounded in research....I will be using it in my seminar on personality." --Elissa Wurf, Lehigh University

"Pioneering explorations of mental control. A major contribution to the field and a stimulating read." --David M. Clarke, University of Oxford

"Over 1000 Introduction to Psychology students have read the book and raved about it. It shows them how psychologists come up with ideas and how they go about testing these ideas through rigorous scientific research. Students also loved the writing style and found it highly engaging and accessible. However, the book should not be considered light reading. I have also used it in two graduate seminars and the students have consistently had high praise for how Wegner weaves together diverse psychological theories to arrive at an important understanding of mental control and the self-regulation of emotion." --Todd Heatherton, Ph.D., Harvard University

"For Dan Wegner, asking people to avoid thoughts of a white bear is more than a clever demonstration. It is one of the tasks he has used for some years now in a creative set of laboratory experiments on the consequences on the deliberate thought suppression. These consequences are something of a paradox: the more one tries not to think a particular thought, the more that thought invades conscious awareness...White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts is a clever, engaging, and highly readable book that explores how individuals try to influence the contents of their own consciousness and the reasons for the success and failure of these attempts." --Peter Salovey and Paula M. Niedenthal in Imagination, Cognition and Personality

"Wegner's White Bears is a masterful introduction to the thorny issues of consciousness and self-control. No student can read this book without several times thinking: 'Aha, that's why I do that.'Â…Students need more academic thrillers like White Bears."--Matthew D. Lieberman, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

"Everyone has at one time or another had a thought that she or he just didn't want in mind--and knows the difficulty of suppressing that thought....[Wegner's] advice, however unsettling, is to let your personal white bears out, since that appears to be the only way to finally set them free."--American Health

Los Angeles Times

"An appealing, thought-provoking study that unpacks parts of mental life that are usually taken for granted....If you read this book, you may find yourself thinking about things you never thought before."--Los Angeles Times
Booklist

"Wegner presents his subject intriguingly, with a sense of humor that may frequently have the reader laughing out loud. A 'must read' for anyone who has tried to no avail to avoid a recurring worry, fear, or thought of any kind."--Booklist
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780898622232
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/1994
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 207
  • Sales rank: 597,111
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author


Daniel M. Wegner, PhD, until his death in 2013, was the John Lindsley Professor of Psychology in Memory of William James at Harvard University. Prior to joining the Harvard faculty in 2000, Dr. Wegner was the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. His research was funded by the National Science Foundation and by the National Institute of Mental Health. A 1996-1997 Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Wegner was also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a recipient of the William James Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Donald T. Campbell Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)