somnolent detachment

somnolent detachment

(in psychology) a term introduced by H.S. Sullivan for a type of security operation in which a person falls asleep when confronted by a highly threatening, anxiety-producing experience. The mechanism originates in infancy.
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The Great Communicator called ketchup a vegetable, downplayed intellectual inquiry, declared that trees cause pollution--and presided with somnolent detachment over a cabinet rife with corruption, secrecy, and illicit dealings.