Reactance (psychology)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Reactance is an unpleasant motivational arousal (reaction) to offers, persons, rules, or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms. Reactance occurs when a person feels that someone or something is taking away their choices or limiting the range of alternatives.

Reactances 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. People using reverse psychology are playing on reactance, attempting to influence someone to choose the opposite of what they request.

See also

  • Bre'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby, an Uncle Remus trickster tale known for its quotation "Please don't fling me in that briar patch"
  • Reverse psychology (and iterations including "double[-]reverse psychology", etc.)
  • Streisand effect, the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Reactance (psychology)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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