Rationalization is a suboptimal defense mechanism associated with clinical and forensic problems

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43:e31 (2020)
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Abstract

Cushman argues that “rationalization is rational.” We show that there is reasonable empirical clinical and forensic psychological evidence to support viewing rationalization as a quite suboptimal defense mechanism. Rationalization has been found to be associated not only with poorer emotional development, but also with a broad range of antisocial behavior, including not only shoplifting, but also pedophilia and murder.

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