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.
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