Perception [lesson 2] is the process of receiving information through our senses. We then make an interpretation and, often, that interpretation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. "self-fulfilling prophecy" [ lesson 15] because it is based upon  a habit of creating a certain picture in your mind. Projection is not all bad, as it assists us in experiencing our way of reality. However,  certain types of projections, can be harmful, such as imputing a person's motives.

 Situational attribution [lesson 4] is the process of projection whereby we attribute to situations reasons for  motives. Dispositional attribution is projection whereby we attribute to others character as reasons for their motives. Distrust  is often an example  how projections can hinder, or destroy, a relationship. Self-disclosure is a process of giving feedback to others on how you are reacting to a situation which may increases your awareness of projection.

 Leon Festinger's "Law of cognitive dissonance" provides an explanation for the precursor of projection. When a motivational state exists which puts our beliefs, feelings, etc. in contradiction with our cognition, i.e., our conscious thoughts, we attempt, to justify, or explain them, in order to get them to appear consistent. [1]

How can I become aware of my projections? How about magnification for starters? Look closer at some of your projections and see if you can find the movie playing in your mind. Think of something that is hard for you to do., as for example, the inability to say "no" when you really don't want to do something but you don't know why. You can select some other task, if that is too hard to do. At any rate, what ever you decide, choose the one person in your life you really think you trust and with whom you think it is safe to take a chance. The next time the person asks you to do something, simply say "no"  and do not give her/him any explanation.

 Pay attention to your feelings, and your behavior. What happens? What is really behind the mask of "saying no"? What have you learned about yourself regarding your   projections? You may be sure you are projecting anytime  you use the following words:, "all", "never", and "always". What are your underlying beliefs, or pictures of the mind,  that necessitates your use of these words?. When you find that you have the same patterns happening  over and over in relationships, you can be certain that you are involved in projection.[2]

  1. George  Weinberg ,Dianne Rowe, The Projection Principle, New York, St .Martin Press,1988, pages.100-111
2. Benjamin Wolman,  Dictionary of Behavioral, Science, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., p. 66

Copyright 1998  [Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.