‘At the cognitive level, they [people who did not physically express signs of disgust] began to think about disgusting things much more often and also felt much more negatively about other issues. The same phenomenon occurs in a situation where you are not allowed to think of something, say a white bear. Precisely because you are trying to suppress that thought, it becomes hyperaccessible’.
It is interesting that this negative spiral is evident with both conscious and unconscious suppression. ‘We asked some subjects to hold a pen between their lips without telling them the reason. The pen specifically inhibited the facial muscles that people use to express disgust. The same pattern of effects was found in these subjects as in the subjects who suppressed their emotions consciously’. The negative consequences of suppression are thus attributable to suppressed muscles and not to suppressed thoughts.