Reactance in Psychology

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Reactance in Psychology

Psychological reactance revolves around the concept of freedom. Thus, our perception of freedom influences the extent to which we may show reactance. There are four basic principles implicated by the theory:

  1. In a given situation, reactance can only occur when an individual believes they have control or freedom over the outcome.
  2. Reactance to a threat will only be as great as the perceived importance of the freedom. If the freedom being threatened is very important, reactance to it will also be great.
  3. The greater number of freedoms threatened, the greater will be the reactance aroused. For instance, if a person is asked to stop drinking alcohol altogether, the reactance to this may be greater than if they are asked to drink in moderate amounts.
  4. Reactance to a threat may increase when there are implications of other threats. For instance, if a professor asks a student not to eat in class, the student may infer that this also means not to drink coffee or have water. The reactance will thus increase.1

from The Psychology of Money

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