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Psychological reactance

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Reactance is an action in direct contradiction to rules and/or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms; it can occur when someone is heavily pressured to accept a certain view or attitude. Reactance can cause the person to adopt or strengthen a view or attitude that is contrary to what was intended and also increases resistance to persuasion. A mild example could be a boy being all the more interested in a girl playing "hard to get", or teenagers drinking to excess in an environment of prohibition when they would not do so in a less restrictive culture.

The essence of reactance is rebellion.

See also


  • Baron, Robert A., et al. Social Psychology, p152, Pearson, 2006. ISBN 0-205-44412-1
  • Brehm, Sharon S., & Brehm, Jack W. Psychological Reactance: A Theory of Freedom and Control, Academic Press, 1981. ISBN 0-12-129840-X
  • Brehm, J. A theory of psychological reactance, Academic Press, 1966

External Links

de:Reaktanz (Psychologie)

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