Approach-avoidance conflict (Hergenhahn)

The tension resulting from the simultaneous attraction to and repulsion by the same goal.
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.
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:

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

McGraw-Hill Companies. (2001). Conflict [On-line] Available:

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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