Projection in psychology is the erroneous perception of individuals of intrapersonal processes as arising from outside. From lat. projectio - I throw forward - endowing the surrounding objects with the characteristics that the person conditionally chose for them within themselves, but perceives them as being received from outside by data. Projection in psychology is a type of primary, primitive, psychological defenses according to the classification of Nancy McWilliams.

The projection allows an individual to justify his or her own actions, behavior and motivation, by explaining “everyone does that”, and he is a positive hero, forcedly put in a situation. The functions and purpose of the defense is to reduce the intrapersonal conflict (anxiety, tension) caused by the confrontation of impulses of the unconscious with the learned requirements of society, arising as a result of education and social communication. Relaxing the conflict, the defense mechanism regulates the personality's behavioral scenario, becoming a way of adaptation, through an unconscious distortion of reality.

Projection is the opposite of introjection. If the latter is the desire to psychologically assign an external object, placing it in the field of its personality, then the projection, on the contrary, strives to give the internal responsibility to the external. Psychoanalytically, this happens when ID impulses are condemned by the superego (superego) and personality (“I”). An example of extreme projection is paranoiac tendencies.

What is a projection in psychology?

The projection mechanism is unconscious. It can manifest itself in paranoiac tendencies, when the unconscious desire to control the environment is realized in the charge of persecution, the desire to cause harm. Unwillingness to recognize their needs and accept them as a result of self-judgment or social unacceptability, often subjective, provokes an increase in internal stress, and in order to create the possibility of contact with one's desire, this external object is rewarded (for example, allow oneself to behave in a certain way) and then condemnation is possible without.

Projection in psychology examples manifest themselves in everyday communication. Different traits, attitudes, motivations, beliefs belonging to one’s own personality are attributed to external objects and then perceived as coming from outside.

Projection in psychology is an example of primary unconscious defense. It was assumed that the mechanisms of introjection and projection are dependent on the separation of the I from the external. The rejection of affect, thoughts from the world of I and the expulsion of them to the external world have the potential to bring relief to opposition only when I distinguish myself from the external. According to Freud, the starting points of the work of these psychological defenses are extremely complex and the mechanism is not as simple as it seems. In accordance with the theory of the British school of psychoanalysis, which operates during the period of Freud's study of defenses, they are the very processes without which the differentiation of personality from society could never be realized.

The projection scheme can be represented as a sequence of individual processes - an understanding of the nature of the impulse (not conscious understanding), the cessation of the impact on the environment necessary to satisfy this impulse, which is its only goal, the exclusion of active action from the external activity of the Self creates around its personality a conditional field in which the necessary (because desired) impulse comes from the outside, as it seems. This, already subjectively emanating from the external impulse, is perceived by the person as aggressively and forcibly directed, forcing him to react, because I unconsciously similarly forcibly cease my own contact with my own unconscious impulse.

This process is considered as an adequate element of mental development, not necessarily leading to neurotic tendencies. Projective protection is formed in the period of the child’s awareness of its separation from other people. If the separation is adequate, the person is able to separate his desires from others.

The global work of mass projection are various forms of prejudice. Prescribing a certain group of the presence or absence of quality (there are bad, there are no good) on the basis of subjective sensations, leads to a distorted interpretation of facts and events in an effort to redeem their own repressed impulses. Freud believed that the worldview of the religious (and mythological in general), at least in part, is the result of a projection from the outside of the internal psychological content of people, creating powerful images.

There are such conventional types of projection:

- attributive - the individual ascribes his motivation and behavior to others;

- autistic - own needs are pushed to interpret the attitude of neighbors according to the expectations and requirements of unconscious impulses;

- rational - explaining their mistakes by interferences created by other people;

- complementary - a person rewards himself with qualities of strength, as opposed to weak others, denying characteristics in himself that are subjectively perceived as manifestations of weakness of character.

Usually the mechanism works in a complex, using different types simultaneously. The larger the participation of the projection in the work of the internal processes of the personality, the more responsibility is given to the outside, the more passive the individual, mental energy, instead of being sent to the productive channel of self-realization, is spent on creating an explanation for his own lack of initiative.

Projection - psychological defense

Examples of projection from life are subjective views of the environment that are characteristic of the individual. Psychological defenses, in balance, are necessary for the psyche to compensate for traumatic events. But if protection begins to dominate, captures mental space and becomes the dominant way of communicating with the world, we are talking about neurotic behavior, and in extreme forms it manifests as psychotic disorders.

An example of the normal and successful use of the projection is the actor's experience of the hero's drama, endowing him with his pain, re-living emotions in a role. Thinking and planning actions from an angle “so that I can be in his place” also includes the deliberate use of this protection, if there is an understanding that this is only an assumption. But even in this case, if you remove the element of understanding the assumption there is a situation of "judged by itself." This is a common situation in the case of jealousy and suspicion in personal relationships.

The neurotic also applies psychological protection also in relation to the characteristics of his own individuality. He separates from himself not only impulses, but even the physical parts of himself, the organs in which these impulses arise, endowing them with an objective, in some form, existence. They become responsible for the difficulties and help to ignore that these are parts of the person himself. For example, hunger can be explained by the peculiarities of the work of the stomach, and not by its own natural desire. The subject creating the projection is represented as a passive object of circumstances, and not as an active actor in the life of his own individuality.

Thus, in the projection, the line between the intrapersonal and the rest of the world is shifted in favor of its own benefit, which makes it possible to relieve responsibility, denying that the aspects of individuality that are perceived as unattractive and offensive belong to.

The projection is the result of a challenge with the personality of a person with a sense of contempt and a desire for alienation. A person who wants to love, but avoids a close relationship, as he believes that others will surely betray - a classic example of projection. In everyday speech, psychological defense manifests itself in formulations when the behavior of others causes outrage and condemnation, the replacement of the pronoun "I" with the pronoun "you he she she they". That same "white coat". And the stronger the pressure of the impulse, the more aggressive the external attacks.

Envy is a more perceived projection, since a person already includes himself in the relationship with projection. Psychological protection lies in the basis of the ability to personify inanimate objects (children are "friends" with toys), or animals, communication with which is built on an emotional level.