Approach-avoidance conflict (Hergenhahn)

Definition:
The tension resulting from the simultaneous attraction to and repulsion by the same goal.
 
Example:
You are the designated driver. While in the bar, you desire a beer to "look cool." However, the idea of a beer is also unappealing because of the increased risk of being arrested for impaired driving.
 
Background:
Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) was the first psychologist to experimentally investigate conflict. He concentrated on three types: approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance, and approach-avoidance. In an approach-avoidance conflict, a person experiences tension due being simultaneously attracted to and repulsed by the same goal. Of the three conflict types, it is typically the most difficult to resolve.
 
Further Reading:

Concise Medical Dictionary (1998). Conflict [On-line] Available: http://www.xrefer.com/entry/123155

Lewin, K. (1935). A dynamic theory of personality. New York: McGraw-Hill.

McGraw-Hill Companies. (2001). Conflict [On-line] Available: http://www.dushkin.com/connectext/psy/ch12/conflict.mhtml

 
Related Terms:
Approach-approach conflict (Hergenhahn)

Avoidance-avoidance conflict (Hergenhahn)

Lewin, Kurt (1890 - 1947)

Self-Instructional Resources:
Take a 1-item self-test over this concept.

Athabasca University, Canada Open University

© Copyright 1997-2014, Athabasca University. All rights reserved.
Page created by webmaster@psych.athabascau.ca
Last Modified: Fri May 8 20:10:55 2009