Resistance is...Automatic

Nagging spouse? You may have an excuse for not responding

New research findings now appearing online in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology began with a professor’s desire to understand why her husband often seemed to ignore her requests for help around the house.”My husband, [Gavin Fitzsimmons] while very charming in many ways, has an annoying tendency of doing exactly the opposite of what I would like him to do in many situations,” said Tanya L. Chartrand, an associate professor of marketing and psychology at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business...

Working with Duke Ph.D. student Amy Dalton, Chartrand and Fitzsimons have demonstrated that some people will act in ways that are not to their own benefit simply because they wish to avoid doing what other people want them to. Psychologists call this reactance: a person’s tendency to resist social influences that they perceive as threats to their autonomy.

The team found that people do not necessarily oppose others’ wishes intentionally. Instead, even the slightest nonconscious exposure to the name of a significant person in their life is enough to bring about reactance and cause them to rebel against that person’s wishes...

Read more in this post from Press Esc.