Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

A psychoanalytical theory, projection is the process whereby one subject believes they see attributes (both good and bad) in another. The theory views this tendency as a defense mechanism whereby unenviable or unpleasant traits, impulses or ideas are attributed to another. In this way, the projector is able to avoid the unpleasantness in themselves. However, the theory goes on to explain that in severe cases of projection, the condition of projection may degenerate into paranoid delusions to the point that the projector believes others are responsible for the projector's problems and are secretly plotting against them. The projection basically allows a subject to ignore faults within themselves.

PROJECTION: "Andrew's mistrust of his neighbors turned out to be a classic case of projection."

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