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Definition: Tension resulting from the simultaneous repulsion by two goals. Example: The sheets on your bed are dirty and they smell. You feel anxious over the decision between washing your bed clothes or facing another night sleeping in a dirty, smelly bed. 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 avoidance-avoidance conflict, a person experiences tension as the result of being simultaneously repulsed by two unattractive goals. He or she must choose between "the lesser of two evils." 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)
Approach-avoidance conflict (Hergenhahn)
Lewin, Kurt (1890 - 1947)
Self-Instructional Resources: Take a 1-item self-test over this concept.
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