You Rationalize When You’re Stuck, But Rebel When There’s an Out

We are always trying to rationalise the irrational... even though it may be more valuable than the truth.

(Science Daily) People Rationalize Situations They’re Stuck With, but Rebel When They Think There’s an out

ScienceDaily (Nov. 1, 2011)

People who feel like they’re stuck with a rule or restriction are more likely to be content with it than people who think that the rule isn’t definite. The authors of a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, say this conclusion may help explain everything from unrequited love to the uprisings of the Arab Spring.

Psychological studies have found two contradictory results about how people respond to rules. Some research has found that, when there are new restrictions, you rationalize them; your brain comes up with a way to believe the restriction is a good idea. But other research has found that people react negatively against new restrictions, wanting the restricted thing more than ever.

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Also see Do You Procrastinate Because You’re Secretly Afraid Your Work Won’t be Perfect?, What Happens to those Who Feel Their Success is Undeserved?, Are You Your Worst Enemy? and Did Denial Cause the Lehman Brothers Collapse?

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