Repression (Psychology)

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  • A defense mechanism characterized by the unconscious omission of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings from consciousness. In a highly controversial, though common, example of the purported process of repression, an adult may not have any recollection of being sexually abused as a child. Repression is thought to manifest via anxious or neurotic symptoms, which arise when memories of traumatic experiences threaten to enter one's consciousness.

    Sigmund Freud placed this conflict intermediary mechanism within his conceptualization of personality structure (id, ego, and superego). For more information, see Derakshan and Eysenck (1997).

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