Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Conflict, expressed parsimoniously yet meaningfully, result from "competition between incompatible responses" (miller 1944). Conflict identified in this manner must be distinguished from a psychoanalytic definition invoking internal dynamic states and forces as explanatory concepts. In the interest of working with behaviors that are more readily observable and measurable, this paper will focus on conflict as defined in the first sense.

Lewin (1931), in particular, was instrumental in launching a concept of conflict based psychological field forces. Field forces, which were considered to be acquired, were said to have valences which had a point of application, strength, and direction. Valences could be positive in that they elicited approach responses, or negative in that they evoked avoidant or withdrawal behavior. Further, the organism's actions with respect to valences could be described as impulsive in nature, voluntary, "'appropriate"' or "'inappropriate'".

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