Another well known form of defense mechanism is regression. This involves falling back into an earlier state of mental development, that is felt to be safer somehow than the current state one is. So, if the current situation the person that is in typically a child, might be one that seems to require bringing a possibly upsetting feeling or set of feelings into the open, that child or that person might respond, not by repressing or directly confronting them, but rather by pretending to be less mature than he or she in fact he is. In this way, he may avoid responsibility for those feelings and possibly even convince himself that they don't exist. Also, by pretending to be less mature, one could overtime actually make oneself less mature. For instance, by losing some of the skills, for example social skills, that self-regulation at the higher level had previously been able to develop. Another type of defense mechanism is projection. This is a case in which a feeling that's construed as socially unacceptable, instead of us facing it, or repressing it, or regressing, what we do is we experience it as being in other people. Projection as you can see is a bit more subtle than the previous two cases of repression and regression. For instance, suppose that I'm feeling angry. But rather than acknowledging that anger, I find myself having the sense that other people around me are angry. Or I have a romantic interests of another person, and rather than acknowledge it, I surmise that they have a romantic interest in me. The surmising is something that I may consciously experience, but what pushes me into that position of taking that conscious position will be an unconscious impulse. Notice how this response to the emotion deflects responsibility for the feeling away from me, it puts it on somebody else, the other people around me are angry, the other person is romantically interested and not me. It takes responsibility off of my shoulders and puts it on somebody else. But at the same time, it does have the virtue compared with the previous types of defense mechanism of bringing it out into the open, something that we could confront even if I've misplaced it. Another type of defense mechanism, a bit more controversial is known as reaction formation. In this case, we've got a person acting in a way that's in some sense opposite from how the unconscious would instruct them to act, if it were only made conscious, and often they'll do so in a way that's exaggerated. So, I've got an impulse and that impulses is for now unconscious. I could bring it into conscious awareness, but I might feel on some level that would be too painful, or upsetting, or shocking. So, what I do so to speak is hit it down very hard not by repressing it, but by adopting a position that is contrary to it. So, for example, a classic case is that of a man who has homosexual tendencies, but responds to those tendencies by being homophobic, or perhaps someone who sees herself as unclean in some way, reacts by being obsessively clean, constantly washing their hands, or cleaning their house, or working space. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, a character says of lady, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." That description suggests that the lady in question is covering something up, perhaps in a case of reaction formation. Recall from our previous lecture that I talked about the example of Freud and discussing a case of what he called the parapraxis with a patient, had imagined that patient have to be confronted with it saying, "You're getting me angry, this is irritating. It was just a slip of the tongue, Basta!" The famous Basta! passage in Freud's Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. When Freud talks about that he uses the notion of resistance. Think of resistance as a short-term defense mechanism, whereas reaction formation is more of a long-term defense mechanism that has to do more with the creation of a personality trait, such as being homophobic. Another kind of reaction that we might have by way of defense mechanism is known as sublimation. This is a situation in which one redirects their anxiety- producing feelings in a way that's potentially socially acceptable. We get out our sexual impulses through various forms of for example dancing, or work out our impulse toward aggression by playing or watching contact sports or even being involved in video games. Historically, many theorists have claimed that watching violence on stage, enables us to work off our violent tendencies through a process of catharsis. This is an idea that goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. One can see that from among those listed, sublimation seems least likely to cause further psychological difficulties. At least on the proviso, that these activities are in fact effective in getting some of the psychological steam out of ourselves. If in fact, watching, or playing violent games makes us more prone to violence than in fact sublimation if that's what this is, doing so would be problematic and perhaps harmful. Also, while it's widely believed that such activities as watching violence on stage or on screen is in fact cathartic, it helps us blow off steam, it's an empirical question whether this is so. Further, it does not appear that the empirical question has been answered conclusively, one way or the other. In one of the go-beyond exercises for this course, we'll look at some literature that tries to address some of those issues. Let's also note that many of these concepts are part of the lexicon of common sense. Just as we mentioned in the last lecture, that it won't raise eyebrows nowadays and everyday conversation to describe someone's behavior as a Freudian slip, or what he would call the parapraxis. So, too repression is well-established part of common sense as are some of these concepts that we've just mentioned. Further, among the so-called intelligencia, these other terms are common coin and often used by speakers; you take for granted that they have not just descriptive, but also explanatory power. Let me explain that. To turn to the earlier example of homophobia. Suppose that we come across an example of a person George, who loudly proclaims that homosexuality is a mental disease and need of treatment. Rather than just something that happens to people, and in no way pathological. The intellectual in the room, that we just mentioned for example, might give a knowing wink and says, "Aha, George is a nice example of reaction formation." This intellectual is in this way implying that George has unacknowledged homosexual urges, and furthermore that his current stance towards gay people, is explained by the fact that he unconsciously wants to keep them as hidden from view, especially from himself as he possibly can. Is there any evidence for this hypothesis of reaction formation? There has been some experimental work trying to test for the existence of reaction formation. Researchers recruited men, some of whom scored high on a test of homophobia. They were asked to fill out a questionnaire with views about people who have different sexual preferences from their own, and some of them expressed disdain for people with for example, homosexual preferences. These subjects were then recruited with equipped, with a plethysmograph, which is a device that involves a ring that's set up around the penis, and it's very sensitive for increase in size of the organ. These men then watched pornographic films, some depicting heterosexual, some depicting homosexual acts, all involving actors that were consenting adults. Then the reaction on the part of the viewers as measured by the plethysmograph was then taken into account. It turned out that the homophobic men showed considerably higher arousal to the homosexual films than did the rest of the test subjects. That suggests, does not prove, but suggests that in fact, homophobia is associated with the homosexual desires. The question is whether there's a causal link and these researchers did not claim to be able to answer that question.