Regression (psychology)  

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

Regression, according to psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, is a defense mechanism leading to the temporary or long-term reversion of the ego to an earlier stage of development rather than handling unacceptable impulses in a more adult way. The defense mechanism of regression, in psychoanalytic theory, occurs when thoughts are pushed back out of our consciousness and into our unconscious.

In fiction

  • A clear example of regressive behavior in fiction can be seen in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Holden constantly contradicts the progression of time and the aging process by reverting to childish ideas of escape, unrealistic expectations and frustration produced by his numerous shifts in behavior. His tendencies to reject responsibility and society as a whole because he 'doesn't fit in' also pushes him to prolonged use of reaction formation, unnecessary generalizations and compulsive lying.
  • Gollum in The Lord of the Rings presents a picture of a still deeper regression. 'Gollum's extraordinary ideolect, with its infantile cringing and pleading...the playful, wheedling, sentimental argot of the nursery', and creeping on all fours all mark out his regression to early babyhood.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Regression (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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