Repressive/Defensive Coping and Identification Thresholds for Pleasant and Unpleasant Words

John P. Kline, Gary E. Schwartz, Denis F. Fitzpatrick, Shelton E. Hendricks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between repressive/defensive coping and identification thresholds for pleasant and unpleasant words. Word identification thresholds were determined by presenting masked words at increasing durations until correct report. Identification thresholds were greater for unpleasant than for pleasant words. When the difference between identification thresholds for unpleasant and pleasant words was standardized, high-defensive participants showed this effect to a greater degree than low-defensive participants. One possible interpretation of the findings is that avoidance of unpleasant stimuli takes place, and that repressive/defensive participants are more prone to it. Alternatively, the findings may reflect a general perceptual bias for pleasant stimuli that is greater for high defensive participants. Such a perceptual bias for pleasant stimuli may facilitate avoidance of unpleasant ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalImagination, Cognition and Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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