Projection (Psychology)

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  • A psychological defense mechanism proposed by the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Projection occurs when people attribute their own unacceptable impulses onto others. For example, people who may be hostile toward certain ethnic groups may project their own hostile views onto “them,” believing the ethnic group to be hostile. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of unwanted desires that may be subconscious in nature without letting the ego understand them. For more information, see Fonagy and Target (2003).

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