Psychological reactance: how we react to the threat of losing our freedom - Deepstash

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Psychological reactance: how we react to the threat of losing our freedom

Psychological reactance: how we react to the threat of losing our freedom


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Not Doing Something Because We Are Told To Do It

You may have noticed that if someone pushes you to do something, it often makes you feel less inclined to do it. This is a phenomenon known as psychological reactance: a reflex reaction to being told what to do, or feel that your freedom is under threat. It can occur in personal,...

A Fear of Losing Our Personal Freedom

Psychological reactance is the motivation to regain freedom after it has been lost or threatened. It causes individuals to rebel against the pressure they are put under. 

It is often the thought of someone else exerting control, rather than the request itself, that leads to psychological re...

Emotional Freedom

The perceived threat to your autonomy makes the work feel unappealing and so you may put it to the bottom of your list, or even argue against doing it at all. This reactance is a direct effort to eradicate the new restrictions imposed upon you.

Reactance can occur whenever our emotional fre...

How to Manage Psychological Reactance: Accommodate Autonomy

It’s essential to treat the people you collaborate with as autonomous agents.

For example, if a new process will be implemented at work, give your team the opportunity to provide their thoughts and suggestions. This way, it will feel less likely freedom is being taken away, and more like p...

Set Healthy Constraints to Breed Creativity

It has been shown that having too few constraints breeds complacency, while excessive constraints can be detrimental to creativity and innovation: a moderate level of guidance “frames the task as a greater challenge and, in t...

Use Reactance as A Motivator

In some situations, it may be possible to encourage others to achieve more by restricting their freedom in some way. For instance, a researcher may be driven to attend more conferences when told that they can only enrol on three per year. However, this strategy must be used with caution, as an ex...

By accommodating autonomy, using healthy constraints to encourage imaginative thinking, and applying reasonable restrictions as a stimulus for action, reactance can be directed in a way that improves creativity and productivity in the workplace — as long as leaders ensure that team members do not...

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