changingminds.org

How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

Intellectualization

 

Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Intellectualization

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

  

Description

Intellectualization is a 'flight into reason', where the person avoids uncomfortable emotions by focusing on facts and logic. The situation is treated as an interesting problem that engages the person on a rational basis, whilst the emotional aspects are completely ignored as being irrelevant.

Jargon is often used as a device of intellectualization. By using complex terminology, the focus becomes on the words and finer definitions rather than the human effects.

Example

A person told they have cancer asks for details on the probability of survival and the success rates of various drugs. The doctor may join in, using 'carcinoma' instead of 'cancer' and 'terminal' instead of 'fatal'.

A woman who has been raped seeks out information on other cases and the psychology of rapists and victims. She takes self-defense classes in order to feel better (rather than more directly addressing the psychological and emotional issues).

A person who is in heavily debt builds a complex spreadsheet of how long it would take to repay using different payment options and interest rates.

Discussion

Intellectualization protects against anxiety by repressing the emotions connected with an event. It is also known as 'Isolation of affect' as the affective elements are removed from the situation.

Freud believed that memories have both conscious and unconscious aspects, and that intellectualization allows for the conscious analysis of an event in a way that does not provoke anxiety.

Intellectualization is one of Anna Freud's original defense mechanisms.

So what?

When people treat emotionally difficult situations in cold and logical ways, it often does not mean that they are emotionally stunted, only that they are unable to handle the emotion at this time. You can decide to give them space now so they can maintain their dignity, although you may also decide to challenge them in a more appropriate time and setting.

When you challenge a person who is intellectualizing, they may fight back (which is attack, another form of defense) or switch to other forms of defense.

See also

Denial, Dissociation, Rationalization, Repression

Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

Main sections: | Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

Other sections: | Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Links | Help |

More pages: | Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font |

 

You can buy books here

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book


Look inside

 

Please help and share:

 

Quick links

Disciplines

* Argument
Brand management
* Change Management
Coaching
+ Communication
Counseling
+ Game Design
+ Human Resources
+ Job-finding
* Leadership
+ Marketing
Politics
+ Propaganda
+ Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
Sociology
+ Storytelling
+ Teaching
* Warfare
Workplace design

Techniques

+ Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
+ Conversation
Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
+ Happiness
+ Hypnotism
+ Interrogation
* Language
+ Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
+ Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
+ Questioning
+ Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
+ Self-development
+ Sequential requests
Stress Management
* Tipping
Using humor
* Willpower

Principles

+ Principles

Explanations

* Behaviors
+ Beliefs
* Brain stuff
Conditioning
+ Coping Mechanisms
+ Critical Theory
+ Culture
+ Decisions
* Emotions
+ Evolution
Gender
+ Games
Groups
Habit
+ Identity
+ Learning
+ Meaning
Memory
+ Motivation
+ Models
* Needs
+ Personality
+ Power
* Preferences
+ Research
+ Relationships
+ SIFT Model
+ Social Research
Stress
+ Trust
+ Values

Theories

* Alphabetic list
* Theory types

And

- About
- Guest Articles
- Blog!
- Books
- Changes
- Contact
- Guestbook
- Links
- Quotes
- Students
- Webmasters

 

| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

Changing Minds 2002-2014
Massive Content -- Maximum Speed