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Reactance, Day II: Implications

So, there's this thing called reactance. If you're like most people, you've probably never heard of it, and yet it has huge implications for your life.

Reactance is a psychological phenomenon -- in response to loss of a freedom, loss of choice, or a perceived loss of freedom/choice, people are quite likely to feel psychological reactance.

Psychological reactance makes you want to push back against the new restrictions, to fight and combat them, to reassert yourself and control over your world.

This can be in the form of direct resistance or pushback against the loss of freedom, and increased desire for the prohibited action.

But it does a lot of other things, too. Reactance causes people to like and enjoy whatever their threatened freedom is more than they liked it in the past, often permanently. Reactance causes people to want to reestablish freedom/control through similar types of behavior -- like increased eating of junkfood in response to being prohibited from drinking alcohol.

Willpower Isn't Enough

Jason Shen graciously contributed a new guestpost to the site -- his have always been popular here. He's running an online class on "The Science of Willpower, Habits, And Behavior Change" in January. Here's Jason --

Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is one of my favorite films and the best comic book to film translation ever done. Nolan's take on Batman is gritty, heroic, fresh, and even somewhat plausible. One of my favorite scenes from the first film, Batman Begins, is when he is being trained by Ra's al Ghul on the art of ninjutsu. The key conversation I want to point out here: 

George St. Pierre pummeling your untrained face

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