Term of Art: Rationalization

“Rationalization: The act of justifying discreditable actions after the event, or a justification or excuse put forward in this way. In psychoanalysis, a defense mechanism in which a false but reassuring or self-serving explanation that in reality arises from a repressed wish. The term was first used in the narrower psychoanalytic sense in 1908 by the Welsh psychoanalyst Ernest Jones (1879-1958) in an article in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology entitled ‘Rationalization in Everyday Life.’”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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