"Perceptual defense" is supposed to be a tendency to switch attention away from stimuli with negative valence; perhaps a kind of "cognitive avoidance". While doing a literature review on these two concepts, I have found much research from the 60s and 70s, but not so much contemporary work---and most of the contemporary articles are from marketing or neighboring disciplines, rather than psychology proper.

Is this because perceptual defense and cognitive avoidance have fallen out of favor as explanatory tools in psychology?

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    $\begingroup$ Good question! A tip which might help finding recent articles. Find a top cited paper in the topic and look at papers which cite it after year 2016 or so. You might be able to further refine /exclude irrelevant journals if needed in the query. If you find something yourself, remember you can always answer your own question. 😉 $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Sep 20 '19 at 8:18

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