Unbidden distressing memories inflict serious damage on mental health. Extant research highlights the importance of associative learning in modulating aversive memory. We report that conscious active suppression eliminates learned fear responses independent of memory triggers and is related to individual difference in thought control ability; in contrast, thought diversion only reduces cue-specific fear response. These results suggest potential avenues for treatment of persistent maladaptive memories by engaging declarative mnemonic control mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number609
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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