defense mechanism

Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

defense mechanism

1. Biology A physiological reaction of an organism used in self-protection, as against infection.
2. Psychology Any of various usually unconscious mental processes, including denial, projection, rationalization, and repression, that protect the ego from shame, anxiety, conflict, loss of self-esteem, or other unacceptable feelings or thoughts.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

defense′ mech`anism

an unconscious process that protects an individual from unacceptable or painful ideas or impulses.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.defense mechanism - (psychiatry) an unconscious process that tries to reduce the anxiety associated with instinctive desires
unconscious process, process - a mental process that you are not directly aware of; "the process of denial"
psychiatry, psychological medicine, psychopathology - the branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders
compensation - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that conceals your undesirable shortcomings by exaggerating desirable behaviors
conversion - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism represses emotional conflicts which are then converted into physical symptoms that have no organic basis
denial - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that denies painful thoughts
displacement - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that transfers affect or reaction from the original object to some more acceptable one
idealisation, idealization - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that splits something you are ambivalent about into two representations--one good and one bad
intellectualisation, intellectualization - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism that uses reasoning to block out emotional stress and conflict
isolation - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism in which memory of an unacceptable act or impulse is separated from the emotion originally associated with it
projection - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism by which your own traits and emotions are attributed to someone else
psychoanalytic process - a process that is assumed to occur in psychoanalytic theory
rationalisation, rationalization - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism by which your true motivation is concealed by explaining your actions and feelings in a way that is not threatening
reaction formation - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously develops attitudes and behavior that are the opposite of unacceptable repressed desires and impulses and serve to conceal them; "his strict morality is just a reaction formation to hide his sexual drive"
regression - (psychiatry) a defense mechanism in which you flee from reality by assuming a more infantile state
repression - (psychiatry) the classical defense mechanism that protects you from impulses or ideas that would cause anxiety by preventing them from becoming conscious
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Rather than being a defense mechanism, tenant service should be a well-planned and consistently delivered program that doesn't fluctuate with the ever-changing marketplace.
On the other hand, rationalization is a defense mechanism the group frequently used in perilous situations.
Ambassador Al-Jubeir stressed that the alliance is based on the international legitimacy, the request from the legitimate president, the principles of self-defense stated in Article 51 of the UN Charter as well as the collective defense mechanism of the Charter of the Arab League.
In the study led by Evgeny Nudler, PhD, the Julie Wilson Anderson Professor of Biochemistry at NYU School of Medicine, researchers found evidence that H2S acts as a general defense mechanism against oxidative stress, the process through which many antibiotics kill bacteria.
The "sugar defense mechanism" also accelerates the removal of excess sugar from the bloodstream, mobilizes carbohydrates from the fat cells, and increases the sensitivity of insulin receptors in the signaling pathways, making insulin more efficient.
Visit this Web site from the Australian Museum to learn more about the defense mechanism of the sea slug:
These results indicate that silkworms have skillfully adapted to the defense mechanism of mulberry leaves.
In her book Roughgarden points to many species, including lions, that mate partially as a defense mechanism. "If a male is potentially going to kill a female's offspring, she makes sure she mates with him so that he shares partial paternity of those offspring and therefore has no incentive to kill them," Roughgarden argues.
RNA silencing was first noticed in plants when attempts to create transgenic plants that overexpressed a natural gene often had the opposite effect; later it was found to be an evolutionarily conserved defense mechanism against plant RNA viruses and other molecular parasites.
Beresford recommends a three-step approach in determining whether a given defense mechanism is primitive, immature, neurotic, or mature.
(There is a small literature in psychology on compensation as a defense mechanism. It lends little support to the use of compensation in social history because its empirical literature is sparse and mixed.)(4)

Full browser ?