CHAPTER 12

Reactance

Deep down, no one likes to be bossed around and dominated. Unless they’re paying for it, which is a different book entirely! We all share a natural drive to protect our rights, choices and resources that we will fight for if necessary. Admittedly, it may take some of us a while to build up the courage or frustration to push back, but push back we usually will. And that will to push back is called psychological reactance.

If reactance is a learned response, we learn it very early on: a baby whose mother pulls away to pause while breastfeeding will demonstrate it at volume. The key bit of grey matter kit that’s involved here is our amygdala, an almond-shaped mass of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobe of the brain. ...

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