Psychological Reactance. A Theory of Freedom and Control. Book • Authors: Sharon S. Brehm and Jack W. Brehm. Browse book content. About the book. Advances in Consumer Research Volume 16, Pages PSYCHOLOGICAL REACTANCE: THEORY AND APPLICATIONS. Jack W. Brehm, University. Abstract. Since Brehm first proposed reactance theory in , many studies have explored the remarkable psychological phenomenon of reactance, which.

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Gain- and loss-frame sun safety messages and psychological reactance of adolescents.

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When psycological fight back: People seem to either react to the threat immediately or after a time delay with intermediary cognitions e. Furthermore, reactance can produce both undesirable and desirable outcomes. And then there are all the freedoms represented by possible future use of the car–one freedom each night for the coming year, some freedoms threatened by implication!

A process model approach.

Psychological Reactance: Theory and Applications by Jack W. Brehm

It will sometimes happen that having one freedom will imply having another. Psychologicla simply assumes that a threat hheory a particular freedom can frequently be seen as a threat to other freedoms.

Service providers may feel controlled by those they serve. Neuron, — Or at least I don’t think you would like that, even if you intended to obtain a Coke when you started to put your quarters in the machine. But membership in organizations of most any kind supplies a ready source of implied threats. Otherwise, reactance effects frequently may be too minuscule to be of any consequence. What happens when a number of freedoms are threatened? A third reason is that we can inspect specific freedoms to see if spychological is any logical or psychological relationship between them.

When a specific freedom has been threatened or eliminated, as when your spouse announces “I need the car tonight,” at least two distinguishable types of implication are possible in regard to other freedoms.

Understanding Psychological Reactance

This is a cognitive-reflective process leading to negative attitudes toward the message and finally results in lower behavioral intention to follow the aim of the message. Persuasive messages arouse reactance especially by using forceful and controlling language, such as the terms should, ought, must, and need.


What happens when people observe the restriction of another person? Conversely, determining who gets the car may not imply a threat to a more important freedom, such as deciding to buy a new car or sell the house or get a divorce.

For short messages, it has been found that the framing of the message as loss e. On the behavioral side, threatened people may exhibit the restricted behavior direct restoration or may observe others performing a related behavior indirect restoration.

Forbidden fruit versus tainted fruit: The obvious example is that of the Coca-Cola recipe. Participants high in dispositional reactance solved fewer anagrams correctly if they were primed with the person who wanted them to work hard than if they were primed with the person who wanted them to relax. Miron and Brehm also suggested that another way of directly assessing reactance would be to use physiological measures. Reactance, Culture, and the Self Miron and Brehm psycholobical that different cultures, such as individualistic and collectivistic, react to different threats and in different ways to restore their freedom.

Being persuaded to buy a specific product in the grocery store, being forced to pay tuition fees, being prohibited from using a mobile phone in school, and theorry instructed to perform work for the boss are all examples of threats to the freedom to act as psychologifal, and this is where reactance comes into play.

Nevertheless, many issues that have not been clarified remain to be examined. Priming Reactance As mentioned by Miron and Brehmpeople do not react only to obvious, direct threats.

The implication principle is tgeory analogous to the principles of stimulus and response generalization that come from early research and theories on learning and performance–the work of Clark Hull, Kenneth Spence, and Neal Miller would be examples. Studies using framing, vicarious, or legitimate psychologicap threats for eliciting reactance indicate two processes of reactance, a more impulsive emotional and a more reflective cognitive process.

National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Two or three years ago when services at the Library of Congress were reduced because of the budget q, users of the library screamed bloody murder.


Further evidence revealed that vicarious reactance is associated with a more reflective, cognitive process and self-experienced reactance with a more impulsive, emotional process Sittenthaler, Jonas, et al.

However, in other cases, one could even make use of the motivational force pschological reactance. Psychological reactance and persuasive health communication: In addition to the freedoms to have or reject particular products or psychoolgical, consumers, I believe, think they have at least two other freedoms.

Reactance, the self, and its group: As Wright et al.

Jack Williams Brehm, A Theory of Psychological Reactance – PhilPapers

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, — We therefore close with proposing some suggestions for future research. So let us consider how reactance theory applies to consumer behavior and let’s start with what freedoms the consumer has. Over the last 10 years the question of how to measure the experience of reactance has attracted increasing attention. Inoculating against reactance to persuasive health messages. Reactance and achievement motivation. Marital partners may perceive threats to their freedoms from their spouses.

Consciousness, Free Will, and the Unimportance of Determinism.

They found that people experienced strong reactance as a mix of perceived threat and emotions if they observed or read about a freedom threat to another person.

When attempts are made to persuade people by using a forceful message, this message motivates people to present arguments against the persuasive attempt counterarguing. Freedom threats are probably thsory in many social interactions.

A cultural perspective on intrinsic motivation. And if that is not staggering enough, just remember that the different kinds of freedoms that are of equal or less importance also may be threatened over future occasions. These would be freedoms such as watching your favorite TV rewctance, spending one evening a week out with your friends, or going to bed early. A measure of direct and indirect restoration. Why would a person sometimes dislike receiving a favor?