Trauma-related versus positive involuntary thoughts with and without meta-awareness

Deanne Green, Deryn Strange, D Lindsay, Melanie Takarangi

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    12 Citations (Scopus)


    In earlier work, we asked subjects to report involuntary thoughts relating to a trauma film and also probed subjects periodically. Subjects often reported involuntary thoughts in response to probes, suggesting they lacked meta-awareness of those thoughts. But it is possible that some or all probe-detected thoughts were continuations of thoughts subjects had spontaneously reported, leading us to overestimate involuntary thoughts lacking meta-awareness. It is also unclear whether failures in meta-awareness occur for other emotional events. We exposed subjects to a negative or positive film. Subsequently, they reported involuntary film-related thoughts and responded to probes that distinguished new from continuing thoughts. Many (54%) but not all probe-caught thoughts were thought continuations. This result supports our earlier finding that people can lack meta-awareness for trauma-related thoughts, but suggests caution in how meta-awareness is assessed. We also found that self-caught negative and positive involuntary thoughts occurred at a similar frequency, with different characteristics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)163-172
    Number of pages10
    JournalConsciousness and Cognition
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


    • Emotion
    • Intrusions
    • Meta-awareness
    • Mind-wandering

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