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Projection

Definition and History

Many biases affect the impressions people form of each other, and a great deal of work by social psychologists explores those biases. For example, people often do not take into account how others' behaviors are constrained by the situations they are in (the fundamental attribution error). Impressions can also be biased and distorted because of the influence of stereotypes. Yet another bias—and a more subtle one—is the tendency for people to see in others characteristics that they are motivated to deny in themselves. For example, a woman tempted to cheat on a test might accuse others of dishonesty, a man with unwanted sexual fantasies and desires might become obsessed with the immorality of his neighbors, and another with an urge to commit violence ...

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