- Rationalization (psychology)
In psychology and logic, rationalization is the process of constructing a logical justification for a belief, decision, action or lack thereof that was originally arrived at through a different mental process. It is a defense mechanism in which unacceptable behaviors or feelings are explained in a rational or logical manner; this avoids the true explanation of the behavior or feeling in question. [cite web |url= http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/ss/defensemech_6.htm|title=Defense Mechanisms - Rationalization |accessdate=2008-02-24 |format=HTML |author=Kendra Van Wagner|publisher=About.com: Psychology] [cite web
This process can be in a range from fully conscious (e.g. to present an external defense against ridicule from others) to mostly subconscious (e.g. to create a block against internal feelings of guilt).
Rationalization is one of the defense mechanisms proposed by Sigmund Freud, which were later developed further by his daughter Anna Freud.
For example, consider a person who bought one of the first home computers in 1980 primarily motivated by the excitement of playing with a computer. If he felt that his friends would not accept "having fun" as a sufficient reason for the purchase, he might have searched for other justifications and ended up telling them how much time it was going to save him in doing his taxes.
Or consider those who buy "gentleman's" magazines "for the articles."
Look at other dictionaries:
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