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Outside the Sigmund Freud Museum (Vienna).
Psychological projection was first conceptualized by Sigmund Freud as a defence mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world instead. Thus, projection involves psychically expelling one's negative qualities onto others, and is a common psychological process. Theoretically, projection and the related projective identification reduces anxiety by allowing the unconscious expression of the unwanted unconscious impulses or desires through displacement.[not in citation given]
The theory was originally developed by Freud in his letters to Wilhelm Fliess - ""Draft H" deals with projection as a mechanism of defence" — and further refined by his daughter Anna Freud; it is sometimes referred to as Freudian projection.[unreliable source?]
According to Sigmund Freud, "projection" is a psychological defence mechanism whereby one "projects" undesirable or unacceptable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else. "Emotions or excitations which the ego tries to ward off are 'split out' and then felt as being outside the ego... perceived in another person", wrote Otto Fenichel. It is a common process, something normal people do. The related defence of projective identification differs from projection in that the impulse or desire projected onto an external object does not appear alien and distant from the ego because the self maintains the connection with that which is projected.
In one example of the process, a person might have thoughts of infidelity with respect to a spouse or other partner. Instead of dealing with these undesirable thoughts consciously, the subject unconsciously sees these feelings as belonging to the other person, and begins to think that "the other" has thoughts of infidelity and may be having an affair. In this way, the subject may obtain "acquittal by his conscience - if he projects his own impulses to faithlessness on to the partner to whom he owes faith", wrote Freud. In this sense, projection is related to denial, a more primitive defence mechanism than projection, allowing a person to protect the conscious mind from a feeling that is otherwise threatening.
Projection can also be established as an attempt to obtain or justifying certain actions that would normally be found unacceptable. This often means projecting false accusations, information, etc., onto an individual for the sole purpose of maintaining a self-created illusion. One of the many problems with this process comes from the object relations theory which suggests that people relate to others and situations in their adult lives as shaped by family experiences during infancy. In this view, "something dangerous that is felt inside can be moved outside - a process of 'projection' " - and the result is "the projector may become somewhat depleted and rendered limp in character, as he loses part of his personality", according to Melanie Klein.
Compartmentalization, splitting, and projection are seen as ways that a fragile ego attempts to maintain the illusion that it is completely in control at all times, something normal people also do. While engaged in projection, individuals can be unable to access alternative memories, intentions, and experiences, even about their own nature in dissociation, as in Dissociative identity disorder.
Historical uses 
The historian and librarian Peter Gay describes projection as "the operation of expelling feelings or wishes the individual finds wholly unacceptable—too shameful, too obscene, too dangerous—by attributing them to another."
The philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach based his theory of religion in large part upon the idea of projection, that is the idea that an anthropomorphic deity is the outward projection of man's anxieties and desires.
The "Shadow"—a term used in Jungian psychology to describe one kind of psychological projection—refers to the projected material from the individual's personal unconscious.[unreliable source?] Jungians consider that "Political agitation in all countries is full of such projections, just as much as the backyard gossip of little groups and individuals". Marie-Louise Von Franz extended the view of projection, stating that: "... wherever known reality stops, where we touch the unknown, there we project an archetypal image".
Psychological projection is one of the medical explanations of bewitchment that attempts to diagnose the behavior of the afflicted children at Salem in 1692. The historian John Demos asserts that the symptoms of bewitchment experienced by the afflicted girls in Salem witch trials during the witchcraft persecutions were due to the girls undergoing psychological projection. Demos argues the girls had convulsive fits caused by repressed aggression and were able to project this aggression without blame because of the speculation of witchcraft and bewitchment.[dubious ]
When addressing psychological trauma, the defence mechanism is sometimes counter-projection, including an obsession to continue and remain in a recurring trauma-causing situation and the compulsive obsession with the perceived perpetrator of the trauma or its projection.
Jung writes that "All projections provoke counter-projection when the object is unconscious of the quality projected upon it by the subject."
In psychopathology, projection is an especially commonly used defence mechanism in people diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder, and paranoia, a thought process that typically includes persecutory delusions born of fear. Paranoia is a common symptom of psychosis as well, such as schizophrenia. "Patients with Paranoid personality disorder, for example, use projection as a defence mechanism because it allows them to disavow unpleasant feelings and attribute them to others", according to Glen O. Gabbard.
- paranoid personality disorder
- paranoid schizophrenia (a subtype of schizophrenia)
- the persecutory type of delusional disorder, which is also called "querulous paranoia" when the focus is to remedy some injustice by legal action.
According to the psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg, all "the primitive defences, such as splitting, projection and projective identification, are commonly connected with primitively organized personalities", such as borderline personality disorder.
Projective techniques 
Drawing on the theory that "the individual projects something of himself or herself into everything he or she does, in line with Gordon Allport's concept of expressive behaviour", projective techniques have been devised to aid personality assessment. "The two best-known projective techniques are the Rorschach ink-blots and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)".
Later studies were critical of Freud's theory. Research supports the existence of a false consensus effect whereby humans have a broad tendency to believe that others are similar to themselves, and thus "project" their personal traits onto others. This applies to good traits as well as bad traits and is not a defence mechanism for denying the existence of the trait within the self.
Instead, Newman, Duff, and Baumeister (1997) proposed a new model of defensive projection. In this view, people try to suppress thoughts of their undesirable traits, and these efforts make those trait categories highly accessible — so that they are then used all the more often when forming impressions of others. The projection is then only a by-product of the real defensive mechanism.
See also 
|This article lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. (May 2013)|
- "Defences". www.psychpage.com. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- Wade, Tavris "Psychology" Sixth Edition Prentice Hall 2000 ISBN 0-321-04931-4
- Encyclopædia Britannica
- Jean-Michel Quinodoz, Reading Freud (London 2005) p. 24
- Shepard, Simon. "Basic Psychological Mechanisms: Neurosis and Projection". The Heretical Press. Retrieved on March 07, 2008.
- Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis (London 1946) p. 146
- Otto F. Kernberg, Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism (London 1990) p. 56
- Sigmund Freud, On Psychopathology (Middlesex 1987) p. 198
- R. Appignanesi ed., Introducing Melanie Klein (Cambridge 2006) p. 115 and p. 126
- Trauma and Projection
- Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time, page 281n
- Jungian Projection
- Carl G. Jung ed., Man and his Symbols (London 1978) p. 181
- Marie-Louise Von Franz (September 1972). Patterns of Creativity Mirrored in Creation Myths (Seminar series). Spring Publications. ISBN 9780882141060. found in: M. Gray Richard (1996). Archetypal explorations: an integrative approach to human behavior. Routledge. p. 201. ISBN 978-0415121170.
- John Demos, "Underlying Themes in the Witchcraft of Seventeenth-Century New England," American Historical Review 75, no. 5 (June, 1970):1322.
- General Aspects of Dream Psychology, CW 8, par. 519
- Glen O. Gabbard, Long-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (London 2010) p. 33
- American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR: Fourth edition Text Revision) (2000) 
- American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR: Fourth edition Text Revision) (2000) p.690
- American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR: Fourth edition Text Revision) (2000) p.325
- B. Semeonoff, "Projective Techniques", in Richard Gregory ed, The Oxford Companion to the Mind (Oxford 1987) p. 646
- Semeonoff, Mind p. 646
- Baumeister, Dale & Sommer "Freudian Defence Mechanisms and Empirical Findings in Modern Social Psychology: Reaction Formation, Projection, Displacement, Undoing, Isolation, Sublimation, and Denial". Journal of Personality 66:6, December 1998, p. 1090-1092. Retrieved 2013-02-12