2018 Volume 89 Issue 1 Pages 22-28
This study investigated the consequences of suppressing negative thoughts about the food products. Consumers are still concerned about food safety after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Given that attempting to suppress stereotypical thoughts ironically leads to increased stereotype accessibility and use (rebound effect), this may be one of the reasons for continued concern. Participants were asked to describe their impressions about food coming from the disaster area. Half were instructed to suppress any negative impressions in their descriptions, whereas the other half did not receive this instruction. Participants then rated another food product from the same area. The results indicated that among participants with a low perceived vulnerability to disease, the group that was asked to suppress any negative thoughts rated the food more negatively than participants in the control group. However, among participants with a high perceived vulnerability to disease, there was no difference between the two groups because their negative impressions were likely readily accessible. We discuss the necessity of investigating a resolution for reputational damage in terms of suppression.