REACTION FORMATION

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The psychoanalytical theory that as a defense mechanism, an individual will respond to unacceptable or threatening unconscious impulses by exhibiting (in their conscious actions) the opposite. For example, a subject vulnerable to abhorrent sexual desire may preach against such practices in the community.

REACTION FORMATION: "Reaction formation may explain why a parent who unconsciously does not care deeply for a child will smother that child with toys and attention."
Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "REACTION FORMATION," in PsychologyDictionary.org, April 28, 2013, https://psychologydictionary.org/reaction-formation/ (accessed September 29, 2022).

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