Has two major meanings in psychology, although the idea behind the definitions is broadly the same:
• if one goal is blocked, an organism may displace its response energy onto some other behaviour. A bird that is being defeated in a dispute may suddenly start preening or pecking at the ground
• in psychoanalysis , displacement refers to the transfer of repressed desires or impulses onto a substitute person or object. For example, if we are reprimanded by our boss, we may ‘take it out’ on a less dangerous substitute (e.g. shouting at our children or slamming a door).