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Social Projection

  1. Joachim I. Krueger1,
  2. Maya Machunsky2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0895

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Krueger, J. I. and Machunsky, M. 2010. Social Projection. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Brown University

  2. 2

    University of Marburg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


At the phenomenal level, the term social projection refers to the finding that, unless there is evidence to the contrary, people assume that the characteristics of individual other people (attitudes, preferences, experience, traits) or the characteristics of groups resemble their own. Social projection is therefore strongest when perceivers know their own characteristics but must guess those of others. The inference from the self to the group is an inductive one that can be modeled by Bayes's theorem, which describes the rational updating of beliefs (i.e., about social consensus) in light of relevant sample information (i.e., one's own characteristics). As the characteristics of most people are, by statistical necessity, correlated with the characteristics of most others, projection serves as a useful inferential heuristic, yielding reasonably accurate predictions under most conditions (Krueger, 2007).


  • social perception;
  • induction;
  • heuristics;
  • biases