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Projection (Defense Mechanism)

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Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Definition

Projection is the defense mechanism by which unacceptable psychological impulses and traits in oneself are attributed to others.

Introduction

When projection occurs, psychological conflict caused by undesired impulses is coped with by attributing (projecting) these same impulses to someone else. In this process, there is no conscious awareness that the impulses in question have their origin in one’s self nor that by projecting them individuals are coping with acute anxiety resulting from psychological conflict. An example is one’s own aggression disappearing from conscious awareness and simultaneously someone else being erroneously perceived as having these same feelings. Another example is sexual attraction for someone other than the current partner being removed from consciousness, and being erroneously attributed to the partner, thus engendering persistent jealousy without objective basis.

Freud theorized on projection as a defense mechanism (Freud 1911/1958). In his...

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References

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Correspondence to Rui Miguel Costa .

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Costa, R.M. (2017). Projection (Defense Mechanism). In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1413-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1413-1

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