Monday, April 16, 2007

Psychology of Conflicts

Conflict is a state of opposition, disagreement or incompatibility between two or more people or groups of people, which is sometimes characterized by physical violence. Military conflict between states may constitute war.
Types of Conflicts
Psychologists today catalog conflicts according to the course of action that will resolve them. There are three types of conflicts: approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance, and single and double approach-avoidance.
Approach-approach conflicts
occur under two conditions: people are attracted about equally to goals. But, carrying out one goal means abandoning the other. For example, you have to choose between buying a car or traveling to Europe. On the same night you want to attend a party and a movie. Research suggest that approach-approach conflicts are easier to resolve than any other type. As you tentatively near one goal ( say, a brown sweater or a shopping expedition), its attractiveness rises. As you emphasize the advantages ( it is warm, it is cheap), you are closer to your choice. At the same time, the appeal of the other goal decrease, and the conflict ends. People generally resolve approach-approach conflicts easily because they always result in something pleasant. Moreover, the alternatives can be achieved in turn. You may be able to purchase the sweater next month.
When a person is simultaneously repelled by two goals (objects, actions, or whatever) and obliged to select one, psychologists call it avoidance-avoidance conflict. For example, you must choose to clean your room or do the dishes. Research shows that as organisms approach an unattractive choice, it becomes more repellent. Avoidance-avoidance conflicts arouse a great deal of anxiety typically, and they are difficult to resolve. People are likely to waver between the unpleasant alternatives and attempt to escape from the conflict altogether.
When a person is attracted to and repelled by one goal we have a single approach-avoidance conflict. A single option, in other words, has a bittersweet quality. For example, an otherwise appealing career may require a lot of education. A luxurious car is costly. Should I have the dentist take care of my cavity? These conflicts also are difficult to resolve and generates much anxiety.
Double approach-avoidance conflicts have two goals, each with good and bad points. The only available job is dull but will provide income. Should I go out with Agne or lina? Agne is intelligent but hard to talk while Lina is talkative but simple. Like single approach-avoidance conflicts, double approach-avoidance conflicts are anxiety-provoking and hard to resolve.
Real conflicts may not fit neatly into these categories because people often face more than two choices. Moreover, when examined closely, all options in a conflict have both positive and negative aspects. At the very least, the selection of any appealing option limits other choices; the adoption of any negative option has an attraction , removing the conflict and the anxiety it generated. In short, life conflicts are likely to be of the approach-avoidance type.
source: Linda L. Davidoff 'INtroduction to Psychology'


janina said...

this is one of the best of your summaries!:) it's informative, interesting, and easy to understand..i guess it's because of examples:)

Siddhi said...

Thank u, that really helped me in my exam prep.

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Αρης Σκετο said...

Thank you ! That was really helpful!

Αρης Σκετο said...
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Αρης Σκετο said...
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Dotta! (*Dinda) said...

Thanks. It's really helping

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Jema630 said...

Only one problem. The types give great examples, but your definition of conflict has to do with outer conflict, while all your examples are about inner conflict. Better definition, maybe?

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