Symmetry And Asymmetry In Interpersonal Relations—With Implications For The Concept Of Projection

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Journal Of Personality


This paper first reviews evidence for some proposals about interpersonal relations These relations tend to be “symmetrical” or “asymmetrical”—i.e, involve similar or dissimilar characteristics for the two parties—depending on what the characteristics are. Certain characteristics (eg., love-hate) are—and are perceived to be—symmetrical, and others (eg, dominance-submission) asymmetrical. The implications are then illustrated for the concept of projection A process of attributing to others characteristics that “explain” one's own would account for symmetrical projection for certain characteristics and asymmetrical projection for others This reformulation can provide a simpler and more unified account for cases that are traditionally treated separately as “supplementary” and “complementary” projection.