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Projection as a mechanism of defense Dyck, Murray James 1980

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Projection as a Mechanism of Defense by Murray James Dyck B. A. (Honours) University of Winnipeg, 1 9 7 8  A Thesis Submitted i n P a r t i a l F u l f i l l m e n t of l  the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts i n the  Department of Psychology  We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 0  December, 1 9 8 0  standard  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s  thesis  an advanced degree at  further  fulfilment  of  the  requirements  the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree  the L i b r a r y s h a l l make it I  in p a r t i a l  freely  available  for  this  thesis  f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department  of  this  thesis for  It  financial  The  g a i n s h a l l not be allowed without my  of  U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia  2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V 6 T 1W5  or  i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n  written permission.  Department  that  reference and study.  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n for e x t e n s i v e copying o f  by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  for  i Abstract Eighty-four male undergraduate  students were divided into  groups of higher and lower defensive subjects.  Subjects  were then assigned to one of three experimental conditions: experimental projection, no-projection control (NPC)., and no-threat control (NTC).  After viewing male homosexually  e x p l i c i t s l i d e s , experimental subjects made a t t r i b u t i o n s to similar and d i s s i m i l a r others, and then completed and defensive compensation measures.  anxiety  Control groups f o l -  lowed the same procedure except that NPC subjects were not allowed to make a t t r i b u t i o n s , and NTC subjects were not exposed to the s l i d e s .  Results indicated that higher defen-  sive subjects attributed higher l e v e l s of negative charact e r i s t i c s to the s i m i l a r target person than did lower defensive subjects, and obtained lower anxiety scores following t h i s projection.  The hypothesis i s made that defensive  projection i s a functional method of coping with high l e v e l s of anxiety.  ii T a b l e of Contents page Abstract  i  T a b l e of Contents  i i  L i s t of T a b l e s  i i i 1  Introduction Methods Subjects  18  Materials  18  Procedure  21  .  2Zf  Results Discussion  37  Reference Notes  46  References  k7  Appendix I  5  Appendix I I  .  n  53  Appendix I I I  55  Appendix IV  57  iii L i s t of Tables Table 1:  Summary of Order E f f e c t Analyses for A t t r i b u t i o n Checklist Data p. 26  Table 2:  Summary of ANOVA's for A t t r i b u t i o n Checklist Data i n which Experimental Condition was Factor One and Target Favourability was Factor Two  p. 27  Summary of ANOVA's for A t t r i b u t i o n Checklist Data i n which Level of Defensiveness i s Factor One and Target Favourability i s Factor Two  p. 29  Summary of ANOVA's for A t t r i b u t i o n Checklist Data i n which Experimental Condition i s Factor One and Level of Defensiveness i s Factor Two  P. 30  Summary of ANOVA s for A t t r i b u t i o n Checklist Data i n which Level of Defensiveness i s Factor One and Trait' Ratings are Factor Two  p. 31  Table 6:  Summary of Order E f f e c t ANOVA's for ADS Data  p. 35  Table 7:  Summary of Analyses of Defensive Compensation Data  P. 36  Table 3:  Table k:  Table 5:  1  1  Introduction Despite the recent burgeoning  research e f f o r t i n the  whole area of a t t r i b u t i o n and person perception, there r e mains one sub-area within the f i e l d which has to date r e ceived scant attention. The neglected topic to which I r e fer i s "defensive p r o j e c t i o n , " that i s , the systematicallybiased a t t r i b u t i o n to others of negatively valued t r a i t s or c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s by an i n d i v i d u a l i n order to defend h i s characterization of himself.  Thus, i n c o n t r a d i s t i n c t i o n to  other forms of a t t r i b u t i o n , defensive p r o j e c t i o n has been assumed to be both a systematic and a s e l f - s e r v i n g bj.as. Since i t s popularization as a d i s t i n c t l y psychological concept by Freud, p r o j e c t i o n has, as an explanatory t o o l , been used i n widely varied contexts and has been defined i n s t a r t l i n g l y numerous ways ( c f . Murstein and Pryer, 1 9 5 9 ; Mintz, 1 9 5 6 ;  Murray, 1 9 5 1 ) .  So abused and overused  was  the term that Henry Murray was f i n a l l y forced to exclaim, " i f p r o j e c t i o n i s everything, then i t i s nothing."  I t has  probably been for t h i s reason that research into the v a l i d i t y of the concept has been so r e s t r i c t e d and the paucity of relevant ,data so pronounced. However, the e f f o r t s of a handful of i n v e s t i g a t o r s have, over the l a s t two decades, so c l a r i f i e d and defined the f i e l d that continuing constructive research i s now. possible.  One of the chief among these has been David Holmes  who, i n h i s f i r s t review of the projection l i t e r a t u r e  (Holmes, 1 9 6 8 ) , i d e n t i f i e d four d i s t i n c t forms of projection on the basis of manifest c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s r e l a t i v e to two . descriptive  dimensions.  as follows:  The dimensions used by Holmes were  whether the subject i s aware or unaware of the  t r a i t which r e s u l t s i n projection, projects  and whether the i n d i v i d u a l  h i s own t r a i t or a d i f f e r e n t (complementary) t r a i t .  The four resultant  forms of projection,  1) s i m i l a r i t y ( c l a s s i c a l ) projection,  then, are these:  the a t t r i b u t i o n of a  t r a i t which the i n d i v i d u a l i s unaware of or denies i n himself;  2 ) a t t r i b u t i v e projection,  the a t t r i b u t i o n of a t r a i t  which the i n d i v i d u a l i s aware of or s e l f - a s c r i b e s ; plementary projection,  the a t t r i b u t i o n of a t r a i t d i f f e r e n t  from (complementary to) one which the i n d i v i d u a l ascribes;  and k)  3 ) com-  self-  "Panglossian-Cassandran" projection,  the  a t t r i b u t i o n of a t r a i t d i f f e r e n t from one which the i n d i v i d ual i s unaware of or denies i n himself. On the basis of h i s f i r s t review of the available evidence on projection,  Holmes ( 1 9 6 8 ) reached the  following  conclusions. "There i s strong evidence for the projection  of  subject's own t r a i t or the complement of t h i s t r a i t i f subject i s aware that he possesses the trait.  There i s no evidence for any type of pro-  j e c t i o n r e s u l t i n g from a t r a i t which subject i s not aware that he possesses (from the Abstract,  Holmes,  1968)."  Ten years a f t e r the appearance of these f i r s t sions, Holmes  (1978)  conclu-  published another review of the l i t e r -  ature, t h i s time focussing h i s evaluation on projection as a defense mechanism. negative  This reevaluation led to a:set of more  judgments consisting of the following:  "(a) there i s no evidence that projection protects persons from the awareness that they possess undesirable t r a i t s , (b) the use of projection follows only some of the predicted patterns, (c) there i s no evidence that projection r e s u l t s i n undesirable t r a i t s being reevaluated  as more p o s i t i v e , and  (d) there i s no r e l i a b l e or strong evidence that projection r e s u l t s i n stress reduction (from the Abstract, Holmes, The appropriateness  1978)."  of these conclusions has, however, been  c a l l e d into question  (Sherwood, Note 1 ) .  Holmes based h i s view that projection does not keep undesirable  thoughts out of awareness l a r g e l y on the outcome  of h i s e a r l i e r review. was  In that paper he argued that  no empirical support for c l a s s i c a l projection  t r i b u t i o n of a t r a i t which i s denied i n o n e s e l f — — s o  there  -the a t that i t  i s now p o i n t l e s s to suggest that t h i s denied t r a i t i s being defended against. of the defensive  In other words, i t i s p o i n t l e s s to speak function of a mechanism which has i t s e l f  not been demonstrated.  Holmes then states that "no new  evidence has appeared that would necessitate a change i n the  conclusion that was drawn e a r l i e r (p. 3 7 8 ) . " Holmes' assertion i s challenged  by at l e a s t two stud-  i e s (Epstein and Baron, 1969; Halpern, 1977) extant at the time h i s review was published, and by one more recently published study (Sherwood, 1 9 7 9 ) .  Halpern (1977) divided  subjects into higher and lower defensive  groups based on  t h e i r responses to h i s Sexual Defensiveness Scale.  After  rank ordering a series of target photographs from most to least favourable, the subjects spent time viewing pornographic pictures.  Following t h i s , subjects rated themselves '  and the previously i d e n t i f i e d l e a s t favourable on a set of t r a i t r a t i n g scales; used i n the analysis.  target person  only the t r a i t l u s t f u l was  The r e s u l t s showed that higher defen-  sive subjects attributed l e s s l u s t f u l n e s s to themselves and more l u s t f u l n e s s to unfavourable target persons than did lower defensive  subjects.  These findings c l e a r l y support  the c l a s s i c a l projective mechanism. In the Epstein and Baron ( 1 9 6 9 ) study, subjects were given experimentally  manipulated GSR feedback to sentences  they were required to construct around twenty stimulus words (ten of which were b l a t a n t l y h o s t i l e ) .  The GSR feedback,  which was supposed to r e f l e c t unconscious h o s t i l i t y , was varied according to whether the subject was part of a "strong confrontation" condition i n which the galvanometer indicated strong h o s t i l i t y , or whether the subject was part of a "mild confrontation" condition i n which case the galvanometer i n d i -  cated mixed f e e l i n g s . galvanometer readings  At t h i s point, subjects estimated the for h o s t i l e and non-hostile words ap-  pearing i n several taped TAT  s t o r i e s read i n either a Negro  or a Caucasian voice, rated the reader oh a number of semant i c d i f f e r e n t i a l scales loaded on evaluative dimensions, and rated their own  hostility.  Two  s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s emerged  from the measures of projection i n t h i s study.  First,  "strongly confronted  subjects a t t r i b u t e d more  conscious h o s t i l i t y  to the stimulus groups than  weakly confronted  1  'un-  subjects. ... (Second), a s i g n i f i -  cant f i r s t order i n t e r a c t i o n between confrontation and race was  obtained.  This i n t e r a c t i o n indicated  that strongly confronted stimulus  subjects rated the Negro  (a) more negatively than the white, and  (b) more negatively than weakly confronted (Epstein and Baron, 1 9 6 9 ,  PP.  subjects  177-178)."  Even though there were no differences between GSR  scores  attributed to black and white stimulus persons, the tendency to deny h o s t i l i t y i n themselves by subjects when evaluating an outgroup member as opposed to when evaluating an ingroup member, i s consistent with what would be expected during c l a s s i c a l ( s i m i l a r i t y ) and a t t r i b u t i v e projection. Sherwood ( 1 9 7 9 ) induced dissonance i n h i s subjects by giving them bogus personality feedback i n d i c a t i n g that they were highly neurotic.  Subjects were then informed that i t i s  possible to make accurate  judgments of other persons based on  6  the sound of t h e i r voice alone.  At t h i s point they l i s t e n e d  to tape recordings of two voices, ostensibly those of a nineteen year old female student (favourable ingroup target) andc. a thirty-one year old female philosopher charged with c h i l d abuse (unfavourable outgroup  target).  Following the audition  subjects rated both the two target persons and themselves neuroticism.  on  Subjects who increased t h e i r s e l f - r a t i n g s r e l -  ative to previous s e l f - r a t i n g s were l a b e l l e d s e l f - a s c r i b e r s , while a l l other subjects were l a b e l l e d deniers.  The r e s u l t s  were as follows: " i n accordance with c l a s s i c a l projection, those  who  denied a higher l e v e l of neuroticism i n themselves attributed more of i t to the unfavourable target person than did subjects who to themselves.  ascribed neuroticsm  In accordance with a t t r i b u t i v e pro-  j e c t i o n , those who  s e l f - a s c r i b e d a higher l e v e l of  neuroticism a t t r i b u t e d more of i t to a favourable target person than did those who i n themselves  denied neuroticism  (from the Abstract, Sherwood, 1979)."  Given that each of the studies just described yielded evidence c l e a l y consistent with the hypothesis of a "mechanism" of c l a s s i c a l projection, the basis of Holmes* f i r s t conclusion i s c r i t i c a l l y  undermined.  Holmes' (1978) second conclusion deals with the "patterning of projection."  This r e f e r s to the hypothesis which  arose from dissonance theory which predicted that among  7 persons who s e l f - a s c r i b e a negative t r a i t , projection w i l l occur onto persons whom they regard as favourable.  In t h i s  way, r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n i s believed to be f a c i l i t a t e d by a t t r i butive projection.  For example, an i n d i v i d u a l might say,  " c e r t a i n l y I possess t h i s negative c h a r a c t e r i s t i c , but so does X whom I admire." Following h i s reevaluation of four studies (Bramel, 1962,  1963; Edlow and K i e s l e r , 1966; Secord et a l . , 1964)  which he had previously c i t e d (Holmes, 1968) i n support of a t t r i b u t i v e projection and one a d d i t i o n a l study (Holmes, Note 2), Holmes (1978) suggests that, " i n four (Bramel, 1962, 1963; Edlow and K i e s l e r , 1966;  Holmes, Note 2) of the f i v e relevant exper-  iments, i t was found that when subjects were convinced that they possessed an undesirable t r a i t , they projected the t r a i t onto undesirable as well as desirable persons.  This set of findings i s i n -  consistent with the defensive theory of projection because seeing one's own undesirable t r a i t i n undesirable persons would appear to r e a f f i r m the t r a i t ' s u n d e s i r a b i l i t y and thus maintain or enhance the threat to self-esteem imposed by the possession of the t r a i t (Holmes, 1978, p. 681)." However, Holmes has been c r i t i c i z e d  f o r h i s indiscrim-  inate use of the concept of projection (Sherwood, Note 1). In h i s review of the evidence, Holmes has not taken care  8 to distinguish p r o j e c t i o n from halo-based  attributions.  The  halo e f f e c t r e f e r s to the tendency of subjects to make judgments which accord with t h e i r f i r s t  impressions,  " a t t r i b u t i n g high l e v e l s of the undesirable charact e r i s t i c s to target persons described i n unfavourable terms (negative halo bias) and low l e v e l s of that c h a r a c t e r i s t i c to target persons decribed i n favourable terms (positive halo bias)(Sherwood, Note 1,  P. 5)." Given that t h i s tendency i s i n operation during projection studies, the a t t r i b u t i o n of an undesirable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c to an undesirable target person should not be an unexpected outcome, indeed, i t was anticipated by Bramel (1962, 1963). Bramel (1962), arguing that the extent to which one projects i s , at l e a s t i n part, a p o s i t i v e function of the amount of dissonance  created by s e l f - a t t r i b u t i o n of a nega-  t i v e t r a i t (e.g. unconscious  homosexual arousal), manipulated  subjects* self-esteem so as to either enhance or attenuate the degree to which dissonance were confronted with evidence  would be induced. (rigged GSR  Subjects  feedback) which  indicated homosexual arousal, and then asked to rate the arousal of t h e i r experimental partner, for whom they had previously provided a f a v o u r a b i l i t y r a t i n g .  In accordance  with halo e f f e c t expectations, high l e v e l s of the negative c h a r a c t e r i s t i c were attributed to unfavourable both the high and low dissonance  partners by  groups, and moderate l e v e l s  9  of the negative c h a r a c t e r i s t i c were ascribed by both groups to moderately favourable partners.  However, when i t came to  the most highly favourable partners, only the low dissonance group, that i s the group from which the l e a s t p r o j e c t i o n had been anticipated, continued to make halo based a t t r i b u t i o n s (low l e v e l s of arousal).  The high dissonance  subjects a t t r i -  buted s i g n i f i c a n t l y more homosexual arousal to these most favourable partners. According to Sherwood (Note  1 ) ,  both the Bramel  (1963)  and the Holmes (Note 2 ) studies exemplify the same issue. I f one f a i l s to take into consideration the operation of the halo e f f e c t , the r e s u l t s appear to belie the hypothesized projective patterns.  However, when the halo p r i n c i p l e i s  taken into account when i n t e r p r e t i n g the r e s u l t s of these studies, these patterns c l e a r l y emerge.  The v a l i d i t y of the  concept of patterning i s further underscored of a study by Secord et a l .  (1964)  by the r e s u l t s  where i t was found that  "subjects projected t h e i r undesirable t r a i t s onto desirable persons but not onto undesirable persons (Holmes, 1 9 7 8 , p. 6 8 1 ) . "  Holmes' t h i r d conclusion was that undesirable t r a i t s are not reevaluated as being more p o s i t i v e following a t t r i butive p r o j e c t i o n , that i s , a t t r i b u t i v e p r o j e c t i o n does not serve a dissonance reducing function.  Although Holmes'  s p e c i f i c conclusion appears to be j u s t i f i e d , we must take care not to generalize t h i s finding to other possible  10  mechanisms for r e s t o r i n g cognitive balance.  For example, the  r e s u l t s of the Secord et a l . ( 1 9 6 4 ) study led i t s authors to suggest that, "by a t t r i b u t i n g a need to a f r i e n d , a person i n e f f e c t reduces the prominence of the need i n himself. Through t h i s action he may others' i n possessing  assume that he  the t r a i t .  'is like  Although the ranked  value of the t r a i t remained the same, i t i s also poss i b l e that a t t r i b u t i o n of the t r a i t to a f r i e n d changes the referents for the value scale as well. Associating a negatively valued object with a posit i v e l y valued object may  through induction reduce the  magnitude of the negative valence.  ...  The  shift in  referents for need a t t r i b u t i o n and need value, however, would support each other i n the d i r e c t i o n of a reduction i n imbalance (Secord et a l . , 1964> p. 4 4 6 ) . " Additional means whereby a t t r i b u t i v e projection may  serve a  defensive function w i l l be discussed i n the following section. Holmes' ( 1 9 7 8 ) f i n a l conclusion i s that the use of projection does not r e s u l t i n stress reduction, the defensive function t r a d i t i o n a l l y associated with the mechanism. In the case of c l a s s i c a l projection, since no empirical tests of the stress, reduction hypothesis have yet appeared i n the l i t e r a t u r e , no conclusions are warranted.  However,  with regard to a t t r i b u t i v e projection, Holmes has been d i r e c t l y challenged by Sherwood (Note 1) who  believes that  11  "there i s r e l i a b l e evidence i n d i c a t i n g that a t t r i b u t i v e projection has a stress reducing e f f e c t (Sherwood, Note 1 , P.  1)."  Sherwood (Note 1) made h i s affirmation of the defensive function of projection following h i s reevaluation of the s i x studies (Bennett and Holmes, 1 9 7 5 ; Zemore and Greenough, 1 9 7 3 ; Burish et a l . , 1 9 7 8 ; Holmes and Houston, 1971; 3)  Stevens and Reitz, 1 9 7 0 ; Hellman and Houston, Note  c i t e d by Holmes ( 1 9 7 8 )  Heilbrun. ( 1 9 7 8 ) .  and an a d d i t i o n a l study by  Both reviews agree that the studies by  Bennett and Holmes ( 1 9 7 5 )  and Burish et a l . ( 1 9 7 8 )  1  suggest  a reduction i n emotional d i s t r e s s following a t t r i b u t i v e projection.  Of two studies (Holmes and Houston, 1 9 7 1 ;  Hellman and Houston, Note 3 )  c i t e d by Holmes ( 1 9 7 8 )  ing inconsistent with the stress reduction  as be-  hypothesis,  Sherwood (Note 1) c r i t i c i z e d the Holmes and Houston  (19?1)  study as being an i n v a l i d test of the hypothesis on methodo l o g i c a l grounds (a comparison group which f a i l e d to exclude the p o s s i b i l i t y of projection) and discounted the Hellman and Houston (Note 3 ) study since neither the data nor the manuscript are available for public examination. Although both the Stevens and Reitz ( 1 9 7 0 ) Zemore and Greenough ( 1 9 7 3 )  and the  studies f a i l e d to obtain e v i -  dence of anxiety reduction on their direct measures, their 1  According to Sherwood (Note 1 ) , the study which Holmes r e f e r s to as the Burish et a l , ( 1 9 7 8 ) paper a c t u a l l y formed the basis of the Burish and Houston ( 1 9 7 9 ) report.  12  r e s u l t s are nonetheless  suggestive of defensive functioning.  Stevens and Reitz ( 1 9 7 0 ) experimentally manipulated f a i l u r e on an anagram solving task and then assigned subjects to conditions which either encouraged projection (e.g. rate other students and the general public on how  well they would  perform on the task) or discouraged i t (perform a d i s t r a c t i o n task).  Although subjects i n the two conditions did not  d i f f e r on anxiety reduction, the r e s u l t s indicate a s i g n i f icant c o r r e l a t i o n between the use of p r o j e c t i o n and reduction.  anxiety  In the Zemore and Greenough ( 1 9 7 3 ) study, male  subjects' were t o l d that they had scored low on masculinity and high on femininity on a previously administered  test.  Subjects i n a p r o j e c t i o n and a no-threat c o n t r o l group rated a target person on a number of t r a i t s i n c l u d i n g masculinity/ femininity while the no-projection subjects performed a d i s tractor task.  Results showed that the use of p r o j e c t i o n did  not r e s u l t i n anxiety reduction.  A second measure of stress  reduction (defensive compensation) required subjects to s e l ect an exercise l e v e l from a s e r i e s of graduated d i f f i c u l t y . Subjects i n the no-projection group chose exercise l e v e l s s i g n i f i c a n t l y more d i f f i c u l t than did subjects i n either of the other two conditions, presumably attempting  to compensate  for the low masculinity which had been ascribed to them. F i n a l l y , a recent study by Heilbrun ( 1 9 7 8 ) has duced a d d i t i o n a l evidence jection.  ad-  for a defensive function for pro-  Heilbrun was concerned with the r e l a t i o n s h i p  13 between projective and repressive s t y l e s of dealing with aversive information about the s e l f .  In an i n i t i a l  session,  subjects rated the f a v o u r a b i l i t y of a l i s t of 120 adjectives. Later, subjects l i s t e n e d to 22 t r i a d s of favourable,  neutral  and unfavourable words purportedly used by mothers asked to describe t h e i r college age children. to recognize  Subjects then attempted  these 66 descriptors on the o r i g i n a l adjective  c h e c k l i s t and indicated whether i t was more descriptive of themselves or s i m i l a r others.  After performing a d i s t r a c t o r  task, subjects once more were asked to i d e n t i f y the descriptors on the c h e c k l i s t . derived:  From t h i s procedure two  scores were  a projection score based on the extent to which  subjects a t t r i b u t e d recognized  unfavourable words to others  rather than to themselves, and a repression score based on the number of unfavourable descriptors not recognized ,on the second t r i a l which had been recognized  on the f i r s t  trial.  The r e s u l t s indicated an inverse r e l a t i o n s h i p between the of p r o j e c t i o n and repressive f o r g e t t i n g of negative  use  traits.  Heilbrun concluded that these r e s u l t s support the assumption of i n d i v i d u a l differences i n the u t i l i z a t i o n of the major defense mechanisms.  As Sherwood (Note 1) has pointed  out,  however, the " f a c t that projection was seems relevant.  It may  the f i r s t option available  be that the i n d i v i d u a l s who  u t i l i z e d i t were subsequently l e s s l i k e l y to use repression because they had l e s s need to (Sherwood,  14  Note 1 , p. 2 6 ) . " It appears then, that although the evidence i n d i c a t i v e of a stress reducing r o l e for a t t r i b u t i v e projection i s by no means overwhelming, Holmes' ( 1 9 7 8 ) negative unwarranted.  conclusion i s  In two studies (Bennett and Holmes, 1 9 7 5 ;  Burish and Houston, 1 9 7 9 ) use of projection was  followed  by  anxiety reduction, and i n three studies (Stevens and Reitz, 1970;  Zemore and Greenough, 1 9 7 3 ;  Heilbrun,  1 9 7 8 ) the  of projection was r e l a t e d to a decrease i n defensive  use  behaviour.  It i s clear that i n the current context of disputed conclusions, what, i s required i s a further test of the proj e c t i o n hypotheses.  However, given the problems of interpre-  t a t i o n associated with previous  t e s t s , care must be taken to  establish c l e a r , defensible c r i t e r i a which w i l l allow for the unambiguous inference of the mechanisms i n question.  The  r e q u i s i t e methodological c r i t e r i a have been established by Halpern ( 1 9 7 7 ) and Sherwood (Note  1).  Halpern ( 1 9 7 7 ) has argued that any adequate i n v e s t i gation of c l a s s i c a l projection must be based on a d e f i n i t i o n of projection derived from Freudian way  can appropriate  theory, that only i n t h i s  test conditions be established.  a r r i v e s at the following three conditions: threatening sexual or aggressive subjects;  Halpern  1) a p o t e n t i a l l y  impulse must be aroused i n  2 ) one must discriminate between those higher  ensive subjects who  are l i k e l y to project c l a s s i c a l l y  those lower defensive  subjects who  def-  and  are not l i k e l y to project  ''5 classically;  and 3) a suitable target must be p r o v i d e d — i n  the case of c l a s s i c a l p r o j e c t i o n a d i s l i k e d and d i s s i m i l a r other (Halpern, 1977). Sherwood (Note 1) has supplemented these conditions so that a t t r i b u t i v e as well as c l a s s i c a l p r o j e c t i o n may ined.  be exam-  In addition, he has presented c r i t e r i a which allow one  to d i s t i n g u i s h p r o j e c t i o n from other systematic biases i n person perception.  F i r s t of a l l , Sherwood has suggested that  lower defensive subjects may  be expected to project a t t r i b u -  t i v e l y rather than not at a l l , since they are more l i k e l y to s e l f - a s c r i b e the t r a i t or impulse i n question.  Second, a  suitable target for persons who project a t t r i b u t i v e l y would be a l i k e d and similar other. As was mentioned e a r l i e r , i t i s necessary to take both p o s i t i v e and negative halo biases into consideration before i n f e r r i n g the operation of a p r o j e c t i v e mechanism. According to Sherwood (Note 1), " i f the a t t r i b u t i o n s of an experimental group are to provide evidence for a p a r t i c u l a r type of defensive projections, they must deviate from t h i s baseline pattern (halo e f f e c t ) i n a predictable way.  In the  case of a t t r i b u t i v e p r o j e c t i o n , the pure halo e f f e c t should be markedly attenuated, primarily because of an attenuation i n the p o s i t i v e halo bias,  ...  In  the case of c l a s s i c a l p r o j e c t i o n , on the other hand, the pure halo e f f e c t should be markedly  exaggerated  16 i n both the p o s i t i v e and negative d i r e c t i o n s (Sherwood, Note 1, pp. 5-6)." Thus, a t t r i b u t i v e p r o j e c t i o n may  be demonstrated by  evidence  of r e l a t i v e l y more a t t r i b u t i o n of a negative t r a i t or impulse to a favourable target person.  C l a s s i c a l p r o j e c t i o n may  be  demonstrated both by increased a t t r i b u t i o n of a negative t r a i t or impulse to an unfavourable target person and by r e l a t i v e l y decreased a t t r i b u t i o n of a negative t r a i t to a favourable target person. However, the question of whether or not p r o j e c t i o n serves a defensive function s t i l l remains. be assayed i n two ways:  This problem can  1) by determining i f there i s a re-  duction i n a f f e c t associated with psychological d i s t r e s s (e.g. anxiety) following projection;  and 2)  determining  i f there i s a reduction i n defensive behaviours or perceptions following p r o j e c t i o n . By incorporating the conditions and c r i t e r i a for a v a l i d evaluation (Halpern, 1977;  requisite  Sherwood, Note 1),  t h i s study purposes to test the four following hypotheses: 1) i f lower defensive subjects who  s e l f - a s c r i b e a negatively  valued t r a i t are provided with a favourably perceived (simi l a r ) target person, a t t r i b u t i v e p r o j e c t i o n w i l l occur;[ 2) i f higher defensive subjects who  deny possession of a  negatively valued t r a i t are provided with an unfavourably perceived ( d i s s i m i l a r ) target person, c l a s s i c a l p r o j e c t i o n w i l l occur;  3) i f subjects are allowed to project a t t r i b u -  tively,  they w i l l manifest a decrease i n anxiety;  subjects are allowed to project c l a s s i c a l l y , i f e s t a decrease i n anxiety.  and U) i f  they w i l l man-  18  Method Subjects.  Subjects for t h i s study were undergraduate  students  enrolled i n Winter Session courses i n Psychology and/or English at ted  the University of B r i t i s h Columbia,  Subjects were s o l i c i -  d i r e c t l y from the classroom by either the experimenter  himself or by means  a prepared statement read by the i n d i -  vidual classroom i n s t r u c t o r s .  Following the request for par-  t i c i p a t i o n , volunteers were asked either to remain after class to sign up for an appointment or to do so by telephone.  Aside  from knowlege of the English language and the appropriate gender, there were no prerequisite q u a l i f i c a t i o n s for p a r t i c i p a tion.  A t o t a l of 84 volunteers completed a l l aspects of the  study. Materials.  The materials used i n t h i s project included three  sets of s t i m u l i and f i v e d i f f e r e n t measures, one  independent  and four dependent. The f i r s t set of s t i m u l i was a series of eighteen male homosexually-oriented s l i d e s .  The o r i g i n a l  from which these s l i d e s were madeCconsisted  photographs  of proofs and  published items supplied by Centurion Press of Hollywood. The content of the s l i d e s ranged from pinup s t y l e nude males through to males performing f e l l a t i o upon each other and poses suggestive of anal intercourse. The second set of s t i m u l i consisted of two b r i e f des c r i p t i o n s of two f i c t i o n a l i n d i v i d u a l s .  One of them was  designed to create a favourable impression and reads as  19  follows: This person i s a twenty-one year o l d student at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia.  He has just completed  h i s t h i r d year of studies i n modern European h i s t o r y . During the school year, he makes extensive use of the aquatic centre and plays intramural basketball. The second description depicts a l e s s savoury character and i s designed to create an unfavourable impression.  I t reads,  This person i s a twenty-seven year o l d man who i s currently unemployed.  He has served time i n Oakalla  (a l o c a l corrections f a c i l i t y ) after being convicted on charges of assault and petty theft. As i s evident from the descriptions above, no reference i s made to the sexual preferences of the target i n d i v i d u a l s . The t h i r d set of s t i m u l i include one male and two female pinups.  The male and one of the female photographs  were taken from magazines whose models are assumed to represent a normative conception of physical attractiveness.  The  second female photograph was taken from the "readers* wives" section of a sex-oriented magazine and was judged by the experimenter to r e f l e c t a r e l a t i v e l y lower l e v e l of physical attractiveness. The measures used i n t h i s study included a homosexual defensiveness questionnaire (HDQ), an a f f e c t adjective checklist  (AACL), an a t t r i b u t i o n c h e c k l i s t (AC), an attractiveness/  d e s i r a b i l i t y scale (ADS), and a sexual arousal scale (SAS).  The. HDQ  (see Appendix 1 ) i s a questionnaire modelled after  Halpern's ( 1 9 7 7 ) Sexual Defensiveness Scale. of  The HDQ  consists  s i x items taken from the Attitudes Toward Homosexuality-  Scale (Dunbar, Brown and Amoroso, Note k)  t  s i x items generated  by the investigator, and eight f i l l e r items taken from the Sexual Liberalism-Conservatism and the Sex Concern-Guilt scales (Dunbar, Brown and Amoroso, Note 4). six  point L i k e r t scale format.  The HDQ has a  Overall, the scale measures  attitudes towards homosexuality per se, physical contact between males i n general, male nudity, and t o l e r a t i o n of homosexuals i n s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s .  Negative attitudes v i s a v i s  these questions were assumed to constitute homosexual defensiveness i n t h i s study and i t was presumed that persons adjudged to be higher defensive on the basis of their stated attitudes would deny sexual arousal to homosexually  oriented  stimuli. The AACL (Zuckerman, I 9 6 0 ) i s a scale used to measure anxiety at the time of testing (see Appendix 2 ) . of ler to  I t consists  twenty-one anxiety r e l a t e d adjectives and sixty-eight items.  fil-  Ten of the items are scored negatively ( f a i l u r e  check the item r e s u l t s i n the item being scored) and ele-  ven are scored p o s i t i v e l y . The AC i s a t r a i t r a t i n g scale assembled by the investigator.  A l l but two of the twenty-two items are for f i l l e r  purposes and were chosen a r b i t r a r i l y from the Personality Research Form Scales.  The two items which were relevant to  t h i s study were the t r a i t s • " l u s t f u l " and "anxious."  The t e s t ,  which follows the s i x point L i k e r t scale format, was intended to e l i c i t p r o j e c t i o n by the subjects. The SAS (see Appendix 3 ) i s a single item, s i x point L i k e r t scale designed to obtain a simple s e l f - r e p o r t measure of  sexual arousal. The ADS (see Appendix k) i s a set of three, s i x point  L i k e r t scale items designed to obtain a measure of the perceived attractiveness and d e s i r a b i l i t y of the models i n the three pinup style pictures. Procedure.  I n i t i a l l y , a l l volunteers were asked to complete  an informed consent form and the homosexual defensiveness questionnaire before making an appointment for an i n d i v i d u a l session i n which the study would be completed.  Between ses-  sions, the f i r s t subgample of HDQ's were scored and the median  determined.  On the basis of these scores, subjects were  separated into two groups:  higher defensive (scored above  the median) and lower defensive (scored below the median). After t h i s f i r s t set of data (consisting of 55 completed HDQ's) had been c o l l e c t e d , the procedure  was changed so that  a l l data, including the HDQ, were c o l l e c t e d i n a single i n d i vidual session After completing the HDQ, subjects from both the higher and lower defensive groups were assigned i n equal numbers to one of three conditions.  Assignations were made  according to an agenda which ensured a counterbalanced  order  22 of presentation within each set of s t i m u l i and dependent measures. In the "experimental projection" condition, subjects were asked to view each of the stimulus s l i d e s f o r about ten seconds.  Subjects viewed the s l i d e s through a small, port-  able s l i d e viewer which they operated themselves.  After view-  ing a l l of t h e . s l i d e s , they were asked to complete the sexual arousal scale.  Next, the following i n s t r u c t i o n s were read  to the subject: In t h i s next part of the study, I am going to read you a very b r i e f description of an i n d i v i d u a l .  As  I'm reading i t , I would l i k e you to form as complete and v i v i d a mental picture of t h i s i n d i v i d u a l as you can. The description of one of the target persons was then read to the subject, was repeated, and the subject asked to f i l l out an a t t r i b u t i o n c h e c k l i s t for the person just described.  This  procedure was then repeated f o r the second target person. order of target person presentation was alternated.  The  Following  t h i s , subjects were asked to complete the a f f e c t adjective checklist.  Then, they were given the attractiveness/desira-  b i l i t y scale.  After reading i t s i n s t r u c t i o n s , subjects were  asked to rate each of the three models according to the scale. The pictures were shown i n counterbalance order.  At t h i s  point, subjects were informed that the experiment was over and they were i n v i t e d to sign up to have a summary of the  23 r e s u l t s mailed to them.  A l l of the subjects' questions'were  answered, and the subjects were asked to r e f r a i n from discussing the project u n t i l i t had been completed. In the "no-projection c o n t r o l " condition, subjects  fol-  lowed the same procedure as was outlined above except that they were not read the target persons' descriptions and d i d not complete a t t r i b u t i o n c h e c k l i s t s f o r those i n d i v i d u a l s . In the "no-threat  c o n t r o l " condition, subjects  followed  the same procedure as i n the experimental condition except that they did not view the stimulus s l i d e s and d i d not complete the sexual arousal scale. There were two c r i t e r i a for excluding the data of i n d i vidual subjects.  F i r s t l y , any subject who was found to per-  ceive the target person f a v o u r a b i l i t y inappropriately was excluded.  Secondly, any subject who rated their sexual orien-  t a t i o n as being either bisexual or homosexual was excluded from the data analysis.  2k  Results The r e s u l t s of t h i s study disconfirmed each of the four major hypotheses which were proposed. for  Although  some evidence  p r o j e c t i o n , and a defensive function for p r o j e c t i o n , did  emerge, the a t t r i b u t i v e pattern was such that i t did not  fall  neatly into either of the two frameworks which had been p o s i t ed.  And from t h i s f a c t , i t follows that the stress reduction  which was supposed to be attendant on the operation of the two mechanisms of p r o j e c t i o n , could not occur. Before examining each of the main hypotheses i n turn, the i m p l i c i t hypothesis that subjects who  scored higher on the  homosexual defensiveness questionnaire would tend to deny sexual  arousal, and subjects who  scored lower on the HDQ  s e l f - a s c r i b e sexual arousal was tested. subjects were those who  Higher  would  defensive  obtained a score of kO or greater, and  lower defensive subjects were those whose score was l e s s than 40.  Using a t - t e s t to compare the sexual arousal scale scores  of higher defensive subjects with those of lower defensive subj e c t s , a s i g n i f i c a n t . d i f f e r e n c e i n d i c a t i v e of greater s e l f a s c r i p t i o n by lower defensive subjects was obtained, t(5*f) = 3.225, £ < .05. In order to determine whether or not c l a s s i c a l and a t t r i b u t i v e p r o j e c t i o n had been e l i c i t e d , a t t r i b u t i o n checkl i s t data were subjected to a series of manipulations. before testing the hypotheses, an analysis of variance  But was  performed on the data to discover whether or not there were  any s i g n i f i c a n t order e f f e c t s with regard; to which target person was presented f i r s t .  No s i g n i f i c a n t differences were ob-  p tained  (see Table 1). Two  separate two-way fixed effects analyses of variance  were performed  for the t r a i t s " l u s t f u l " and "anxious."  Factor  one was experimental condition (projection or no-threat cont r o l ) and factor two was target person (favourable or unfavourable).  Both of these analyses revealed a main target per-  son e f f e c t ( l u s t f u l , F (1, .108) = 4.91, F (1, 108) = 19.43, £ <.05)  p<,05;  anxious,  but no experimental condition or  i n t e r a c t i o n e f f e c t s (see Table 2),  Thus, across both the pro-  j e c t i o n and the no-threat control conditions, subjects rated the unfavourable target person as being more l u s t f u l and more anxious than the favourable target person.  This finding sup-  ports the notion that halo effect a t t r i b u t i o n s would be operating i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n . The next two analyses (again based on data for the t r a i t s l u s t f u l and anxious) were concerned  solely with sub-  jects i n the projection condition and examined the e f f e c t s due to subjects' l e v e l of defensiveness (factor one) and target f a v o u r a b i l i t y (factor two).  The ANOVA based on the " l u s t -  f u l " data yielded no s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t s , while from the "anxious" data, the only s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t to emerge was,  again  p For the purpose of order e f f e c t analyses, the data for two subjects was randomly eliminated so that the c e l l sizes would be equal. A s i m i l a r procedure was performed for the ADS data order analysis.  26 Table 1 Summary of Order E f f e c t Analyses for A t t r i b u t i o n Checklist Data Data Base 1.  High Defensive S's T r a i t Anxious  2. High Defensive S's Trait Lustful  3.  df  MS  Target Favourability . 1 . 5 Order 4.2 Interaction .2  F 1 1 1  1.03  2.87 ..23  a  Target Favourability Order Interaction  Lower Defensive S's Target Favourability Order T r a i t Anxious Interaction  8.2 2.7 .7  1 1 1  4.09'  Target Favourability Order Interaction  2.1  1 1 1  1.08  4. Lower Defensive S's Trait Lustful  Note. a  Source  .1  3.4  1.33  .33  .02  1.80  for Mean Squares Within, df = 20. C r i t i c a l value for F was 4.35  No ANOVA was calculated i n t h i s instance as three of the four means were equal and would have resulted i n F = 0.  27  Table 2 Summary of Analyses of Variance f o r A t t r i b u t i o n C h e c k l i s t Data i n which Experimental C o n d i t i o n was Factor One and Target Favo u r a b i l i t y was Factor Two. Data Base  Source  HS  df  1.  Condition Target Interaction  1.75 6.04 .14  1 1 1  4.9V  Condition Target Interaction  .01  31.08  1 1 1  .01 19.43 .01  2.  *  Trait Lustful  T r a i t Anxious  P<.05  .01  F 1.42 .11  target f a v o u r a b i l i t y , F (1, 26) = 9.69, £ <.05 (see Table 3). Thus, at t h i s l e v e l of analysis, the only s i g n i f i c a n t pattern of a t t r i b u t i o n to emerge appears to be halo based. For the t h i r d set of analyses of variance (see Table 4), the data were organized to assay interactions between experimental condition and subjects' l e v e l of defensiveness. Using data from the unfavourable target person, two ANOVA's were c a r r i e d out, one for each of the two t r a i t s . icant e f f e c t s were detected.  No s i g n i f -  P a r a l l e l analyses based on fav-  ourable target person data also f a i l e d to y i e l d s i g n i f i c a n t effects.  There was no evidence f o r any d i f f e r e n t i a l patterns  of a t t r i b u t i o n regardless of experimental condition or subj e c t s ' l e v e l of defensiveness. The evidence for a non-hypothesized  form of projection  emerged from the f i n a l set of analyses of a t t r i b u t i o n checkl i s t data.  Two ANOVA's were done;  one was based on the un-  favourable target person, and the other on the favourable target person.  The f i r s t factor was l e v e l of defensiveness  and the second factor was ratings on each of the two.traits. In the former analysis, no s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t s resulted (see Table 5). However, the favourable target person data d i s closed a s i g n i f i c a n t main e f f e c t for subjects', l e v e l of defensiveness (F (1, 52) = 9.77, £ < . 0 5 ) , though not for factor two or the i n t e r a c t i o n .  Further analysis revealed s i g n i f i c a n t l y  more a t t r i b u t i o n of the t r a i t " l u s t f u l " to the favourable target person by higher defensive than by lower defensive  29 Table 3 Summary of Analyses of Variance for A t t r i b u t i o n Checklist Data i n which Level of Defensiveness i s Factor One and Target Favo u r a b i l i t y i s Factor Two. Data Base  •  Source  MS  df  F  1.  Trait Lustful  Target Favourability Defensiveness Interaction  2.16 2.16 3.02  1 1 1  1.74 1.74 2,43  2.  T r a i t Anxious  Target Favourability 16.07 Defensiveness 4.57 Interaction 1.79  1 1 1  9.69* 2.75 1.08  *  p<.05  Table 4  30  Summary of Analyses of Variance for A t t r i b u t i o n Checklist Data i n which Experimental Condition i s Factor One and Level of Defensiveness i s Factor Two. Data Base  Source  MS  df  F  1i  Condition , Defensiveness Interaction  1.45  1 1 1  1.03 . 11 .32  1 1 1  .43 2.90  , 2.08  1 1 1  .01 1.05 3.75  Unfavourable Target Trait Lustful  .16 .45  a  2.  Unfavourable Target T r a i t Anxious  Condition Defensiveness Interaction  3.  Favourable Target Trait Lustful  Condition Defensiveness Interaction  .45 3.02  Favourable Target T r a i t Anxious  Condition Defensiveness Interaction  .02 1.45  4.  2.16  5.16  No ANOVA was calculated i n t h i s instance as there were two sets of i d e n t i c a l means which would have resulted i n F = 0 . c r i t i c a l value for F was 4 . 0 3  31  \  Table 5 Summary of Analyses of Variance for A t t r i b u t i o n Checklist Data i n v/hich Level of Def ensiveness i s Factor One and T r a i t Ratings are Factor Two. Data Base  Source  1.  Favourable Target  Defensiveness Trait. Interaction  2.  Unfavourable Target  Defensiveness Trait Interaction  *  P<.05  df  F  11.16 .02 .02  1 1 1  9.77* .02 . .02  .07 7.14 .29  1 1 1  3.84 .16  MS  .Oif  32 subjects (t (26) = 2,if29» p.<.05);  t h i s was also the case for  the t r a i t anxious (t (26) = 2.071, p<.05). point i t i s important Table k)  However, at t h i s  to r e c a l l the ANOVA already c i t e d  (see  which revealed no s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t s when the no-  threat control condition was included i n the analysis.  Thus,  though the absolute differences between higher and lower defensive subjects i n a t t r i b u t i o n to the favourable target person are s i g n i f i c a n t when only the extremes are compared, the changes r e l a t i v e to t h e i r respective control groups are nonsignificant. The data r e l a t i n g to the defensive function of projection consists of anxiety scores as measured by the AACL and defensive compensation scores, a composite of the ADS sponses.  re-  These two measures w i l l be discussed separately.  F i r s t of a l l , a two-way fixed e f f e c t s analysis of variance was performed on the AACL data. analysis was experimental  Factor one i n t h i s  condition (projection, no-projection  control, no-threat control) and factor two was l e v e l of defensiveness (high or low). A one way  None of the e f f e c t s were s i g n i f i c a n t .  analysis of variance u t i l i z i n g data from low-  er defensive subjects only, revealed s i g n i f i c a n t differences between the treatment conditions, F (2, 39) = 3.695, p<.05. Comparisons between the groups indicated that t h i s effect  was  due to s i g n i f i c a n t differences between the p r o j e c t i o n and  the  no-threat control conditions (t (26) = 2.52,  p<.05), between  the no-projection control and the no-threat control conditions (t (26) = 2.45,  P.<.05), but not between the p r o j e c t i o n and  33 the no-projection control conditions (t (26) = .29, £> .05)# Both of the groups of lower defensive subjects who were exposed to the stimulus s l i d e s were s i g n i f i c a n t l y more anxious than the group of lower defensive subjects who were not threatened, regardless of whether or not they were given the opportunity to project. A second one-way analysis of variance was performed using the data obtained from higher defensive subjects.  In  t h i s case, the test s t a t i s t i c did not reach the c r i t i c a l v a l ue.  Subsequent planned comparisons, however, revealed an  interesting result.  Analogously  to the analysis of projection  by higher defensive subjects to a favourable target person, i n t h i s instance, although neither the p r o j e c t i o n (t-(26) = 1.207, p_>.05) nor the no-projection control conditions (t (26) = .841» P>.05) d i f f e r e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y from the nothreat control condition, they did d i f f e r s i g n i f i c a n t l y from each other (t (26) = 2.391, £ <.05).  In f a c t , the subjects  i n the projection condition were l e s s anxious after being given the chance to project (x = 6.285) than were the unthreatened control subjects (X = 7.857). Before moving on to the analysis of the defensive compensation scores, there remains one more AACL based f i n d ing to report.  A comparison of higher and lower defensive  subjects i n the no-threat control condition revealed a large, though non-significant, difference between the two groups (t (26) = 2.013,  £>.05).  34 As was mentioned e a r l i e r , the defensive compensation score i s a composite  of ADS responses.  It was obtained by  summing the subjects' ratings for the two female models and then subtracting from t h i s t o t a l the r a t i n g for the male model. After t h i s reconstruction had occured, these scores were f i r s t examined for order e f f e c t s . variance were performed jects.  Separate one-way analyses of  for higher and lower defensive sub-  No s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t s were obtained i n either case  (see Table 6). A two-way analysis of variance was performed defensive compensation data.  on the  The f i r s t factor i n t h i s anal-  y s i s was experimental condition (projection, no-projection control, no-threat control) and the second factor was subjects' l e v e l of defensiveness (high or low). follows: factor two  The r e s u l t s were as  both factor one (F (2, 78) = 3.692, p < . 0 5 ) and (F ( 1 , 78) = 11.965, £ < . 0 5 ) were s i g n i f i c a n t ,  while there was no s i g n i f i c a n t i n t e r a c t i o n e f f e c t (see Table 7).  Additional comparisons (see Table 7) suggest that the  s i g n i f i c a n t main effect for experimental condition i s due p r i m a r i l y to differences between the scores obtained from the no-threat control condition and both of the other conditions. The r e s u l t s do not indicate a decrease i n defensive compensation for subjects who  are allowed to project.  The  signif-  icant main e f f e c t for defensiveness i s due to s u b s t a n t i a l l y higher defensive compensation scores for higher defensive subjects across a l l conditions (X = 4.90) than for lower defensive subjects across a l l conditions (If = 3.40).  Table 6 Summary of Order E f f e c t Analyses of Variance for Data Base  Source  1.  High Defensive S's  Order  2.  Low Defensive S's  Order  Note.  A l l F values non-significant.  ADS Data. df  F  .50  2  .06  3.58  2  .48 ,  MS  36 Table 7 Summary of Analyses of Defensive Compensation Data • ANOVA Data Base t , 1. A l l Scores  Source Condition Defensiveness Interaction  2.  High Defensive S's  Condition  3.  Low Defensive S's  Condition  MS  df  14.58  47.25 2.25  2 1 2  3.69* 11.96* .57  4.67  2  1.28  2  2.86  12.16  F-  t-test Data Base  Comparison  df  t  1.  Low Defensive S's  no-projection vs no-threat  26  2.58*  2.  Low Defensive S's  projection vs no-•threat  26  1.76  3.  High Defensive S's  no-pro j ec tion«vs no-threat  26  1.09  4.  High Defensive S's  projection vs no-•threat  26  1.42  *  p-<.05  37 Discussion An unexpected outcome of t h i s study was  the f i n d i n g  that even though each of the four major hypotheses were d i s confirmed, an unanticipated pattern of projection did occur and appeared to serve an anxiety reducing function.  This  l a t t e r projection consisted of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which had been defined as elements of both c l a s s i c a l and a t t r i b u t i v e projection.  As a r e s u l t of these findings, several new  conclusions  about the phenomenon of projection are worth considering.  In  addition, the r e s u l t s of t h i s study argue f o r c e f u l l y for the necessity of defining c l e a r l y the conditions required for the e l i c i t a t i o n of the phenomenon i n question, and for the i n c l u sion i n an empirical t e s t , conditions which c o n t r o l for the influence of related phenomena. The most d i f f i c u l t of the conclusions to draw i s that projection has been e l i c i t e d at a l l .  Were i t not for the fact  that higher defensive subjects given a chance to project manifested  a lower l e v e l of anxiety following projection, t h i s  conclusion might not have been reached at a l l .  Given that t h i s  did i n fact occur, i t colours s l i g h t l y the examination of the projection data. The projection data revealed differences between higher and lower defensive subjects i n t h e i r a t t r i b u t i o n s towards favourable target persons, with higher defensive a t t r i b u t i n g higher l e v e l s of the negative  traits.  with t h e i r respective higher and lower defensive  subjects Comparison no-threat  control counterparts i n d i c a t e s that t h i s s i g n i f i c a n t  differ-  ence was achieved through r e l a t i v e l y increased a t t r i b u t i o n by higher defensive subjects and r e l a t i v e l y decreased by lower defensive subjects.  attribution  In other words, for higher de-  fensive subjects, there was an attenuation of the halo bias while for lower defensive subjects, the halo bias was exaggerated.  These facts leave the door open to draw one of several  alternative conclusions.  One would be simply to say that pro-  j e c t i o n did not occur since o v e r a l l the p r o j e c t i o n condition did not d i f f e r from the no-threat control condition.  Another  would be to say that only lower defensive subjects projected ( a l b e i t negatively) since i n absolute terms their scores d i f fered most s u b s t a n t i a l l y from their control group,  A third  p o s s i b i l i t y i s that i t was the higher defensive subjects who projected.  This l a s t one i s the conclusion to which I sub-  scribe, l a r g e l y as a r e s u l t of the facts mentioned e a r l i e r , namely, that i t was these same higher defensive subjects whose anxiety l e v e l was lowest, lower even than that of the no-threat control group. To hold to t h i s conclusion has a number of implications.  F i r s t of a l l , i t underscores  terion i d e n t i f i e d by Halpern subjects may  the p r e r e q u i s i t e c r i -  ( 1 9 7 7 ) that only higher defensive  be expected to project.  Second, i t contradicts  both Halpern's notion that p r o j e c t i o n w i l l occur onto an unfavourable target, and Sherwood's (Note 1) prediction that i t i s the lower defensive subjects who  w i l l project onto  39 favourable targets.  The p r o j e c t i o n by higher defensive sub-  jects appears to have occured only onto the favourable target person.  , The second and t h i r d conclusions of t h i s study r e l a t e  to the stress reducing or defensive function of p r o j e c t i o n . As the reader w i l l have gathered from the discussion above, i t i s clear that the use of projection by higher defensive subjects may  serve an anxiety reducing function.  However,  besides t h i s reduction i n anxiety, there was no strong e v i dence for a reduction i n other defensive behaviour defensive compensation. lower defensive subjects.  such as  This was the case f o r both higher and While i t i s true that following pro-  jection higher defensive subjects were not s i g n i f i c a n t l y more defensive than non-threatened higher defensive control subj e c t s , given the o v e r a l l pattern of r e s u l t s t h i s would not appear to argue for decreased two reasons.  defensiveness.  This i s so for  F i r s t , higher defensive subjects i n the projec-  tion condition actually scored higher than higher defensive subjects i n the no-projection control condition. t i o n had reduced  If projec-  the need for defensive compensation, i t would  follow that the observed pattern would have been reversed. Second, given the generally high defensive compensation scores \  of a l l higher defensive subjects, including those i n the nothreat control condition, the inference of a c e i l i n g effect for these scores does not appear unwarranted.  As for the lower  defensive subjects, both of the groups which were exposed to  the stimulus s l i d e s obtained defensive compensation scores s i g n i f i c a n t l y higher than lower defensive no-threat control subjects.  Since i t has already been concluded  that lower  defensive subjects did not project onto either of the target persons, t h i s discovery i s not s u r p r i s i n g . Among the most i n t e r e s t i n g of the findings to emerge from t h i s study was the consistent difference i n responding between higher and lower defensive subjects.  This feature  surfaced within each of the measures used i n t h i s study, and suggests that the importance of t h i s factor has been underestimated in.previous research i n the f i e l d .  That these two  groups would d i f f e r i n their scores, on the sexual arousal scale was anticipated;  that these differences would p e r s i s t  across other measures only now seems a l o g i c a l , i f unexpected, outcome.  Given that both the HDQ and the ADS were constructed  to measure aspects of the concept "defensiveness,"  i t follows  that i f both scales are v a l i d , persons adjudged to be defensive on the one may be expected to be adjudged defensive on the other.  A similar consistency would also apply to subjects  i d e n t i f i e d as lower defensive. For differences i n anxiety scores, the argument i s l e s s straightforward.  I f we may assume that higher  defensiveness  i s not an innate c h a r a c t e r i s t i c , i t would appear  reasonable  to assume also that the a c q u i s i t i o n of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c (or response mode) was adopted or learned because i t served some functional purpose.  In addition, from the r e s u l t s of t h i s  41  study we know that higher defensiveness i s associated with denial of unacceptable impulses (lower SAS scores) and the use of projection (increased a t t r i b u t i o n of negative charac-. t e r i s t i c s to favourable or similar others).. We also know that the use of projection leads to a reduction i n anxiety, a r e duction from a l e v e l of anxiety which i s probably not ascribable to the effects of the stimulus s l i d e s alone, since higher defensive subjects i n the no-threat control condition were themselves more anxious than were lower defensive subjects i n the same condition. From t h i s set of assumptions and r e s u l t s , ' i t follows that the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c or response mode l a b e l l e d "defensiveness" represents a functional method of coping with higher l e v e l s of anxiety.  I f t h i s reasoning i s correct, i t  would follow that persons already adjudged to be defensive w i l l also manifest r e l a t i v e l y high l e v e l s of anxiety. The above conclusion i s not, of course, the only one which may be drawn from the data.  The most obvious alterna-  t i v e i s that both defensiveness and anxiety are due to some unspecified t h i r d variable.  Another p o s s i b i l i t y i s that anxi-  ety i s i t s e l f a function of defensiveness.  while both of  these a l t e r n a t i v e s are f e a s i b l e , they do not follow the " p r i n c i p l e of parsimony."  The one requires that we posit an  additional variable, the nature of which i s e n t i r e l y unknown. To accede to the other would require the formulation of addit i o n a l presuppositions. This study also h i g h l i g h t s the importance  of c l e a r l y  ^  2  defined response c r i t e r i a and appropriate comparison groups. Had  t h i s study incorporated only the conditions established  by Halpern  ( 1 9 7 7 ) , neither projection not anxiety reduction  would have been e l i c i t e d .  If the dichotomy between higher and  lower defensive subjects had been neglected, no p o s i t i v e conclusions would have resulted.  Inclusion of both sets of c r i -  t e r i a made i t possible to ascertain that p r o j e c t i o n i s a unitary phenomenon, that i s , i t appears to be a single mechanism used by a single s p e c i f i a b l e population and i s directed towards a predictable class of persons. In the same vein, i t i s easy now of  c o n t r o l l i n g for halo based e f f e c t s .  to recognize the value Although  the s p e c i f i c  conclusion with regard to projection would have been the same, the magnitude of the observed unnecessarily exaggerated.  effect would have been  More importantly, however, i s the  fact that i t would i n that case have been impossible to make . any general statements regarding the higher defensive subjects per se;  and the extent to which t h i s factor plays a r o l e i n  defensive behaviour  would have been overlooked.  At t h i s juncture, i t i s necessary to consider the p o s s i b i l i t y that demand c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the experimental t i o n may  have influenced the outcome of the study.  situa-  P r i o r to  t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s project, subjects were informed that i t s purpose was  to examine the way i n which viewing  p l i c i t sexual materials may of other persons.  ex-  effect the impressions we form  The question now  becomes, given t h i s  43 information and the ever-increasing knowlege about the method and materials of the experiment i t s e l f , to.what extent i s i t likely  that any subject w i l l be able to accurately deduce the  s p e c i f i c hypotheses under i n v e s t i g a t i o n .  On the basis of  information gleaned from subjects during post-experimental discussions, and the r e l a t i v e l y complex nature of the hypotheses themselves, i t i s probably safe to suggest that few i f any accurate impressions were formed.  What did emerge i s that  subjects held widely varying opinions on the task, though most of them believed i t was mainly concerned with attitudes towards homosexuals.  Since there was such divergence i n the guesses  of the subjects concerning the true nature of the study, i t i s impossible to assess the nature and extent of the influence exerted by demand c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s .  However, given t h i s var-  i a b i l i t y , i t i s u n l i k e l y that any resultant bias was  con-  sistent. Additional features of the experimental s i t u a t i o n which require examination at t h i s time are the stimulus items used i n t h i s study.  Did these materials evoke the responses  for which purpose they were chosen?  The data indicate that  the desired outcomes were obtained i n each case.  That the  stimulus s l i d e s were successful i n r a i s i n g anxiety i s e v i denced by the s i g n i f i c a n t l y lower AACL scores amongst nothreat control subjects.  Similar data from the attractiveness  / d e s i r a b i l i t y scales underscores the success of t h i s manipulation.  D i f f e r e n t i a l perceptions of the two target persons  was confirmed by the a t t r i b u t i o n patterns of subjects i n the no-threat control condition.  These subjects consistently  attributed higher l e v e l s of both the t r a i t s " l u s t f u l " and "anxious" to the target person designated unfavourable.  The  extent to which each of the s t i m u l i were successful i n bringing out the predicted responses thus lends credence  to the  v a l i d i t y of the dependent r e s u l t s . In summary, the r e s u l t s of t h i s study represent e v i dence for a s e l f - s e r v i n g bias i n person perception, namely, defensive p r o j e c t i o n . Contrary to p r e d i c t i o n , the bias f o l lowed neither of the hypothesized patterns.  Rather, i t con-  s i s t e d of the a t t r i b u t i o n of a negative c h a r a c t e r i s t i c to a s i m i l a r (favourable) other by a higher defensive subject. The use of t h i s mechanism was observed to follow the viewing of anxiety arousing material and was found to be u s e f u l i n reducing t h i s anxiety.  The data from t h i s study also i n d i -  cate that i t i s possible to discriminate higher from lower defensive i n d i v i d u a l s on the basis of t h e i r responses to a homosexual defensiveness questionnaire.  Differences between  these groups p e r s i s t across a number of measures. Following from these conclusions, there are several new questions which may be posed f o r empirical r e s o l u t i o n . For example, among a group of higher anxious i n d i v i d u a l s , i s there a greater proportion of persons who would also be judged higher defensive than there would be among lower anxious individuals?  Is higher defensiveness as measured  45 by the HDQ associated with defensiveness with regards to say aggression, or perhaps to "conservative" values generally, or i s i t a more i d i o s y n c r a t i c descriptor?  Answers to these  questions may make i t possible to answer more valuative queries such as whether or not the use of defensive projection i s an adaptive means of dealing with anxiety.  46 Reference Notes 1.  Sherwood, G. G. a review.  2.  Self-serving biases i n person perception:  Manuscript submitted for p u b l i c a t i o n ,  Holmes, D. S. able t r a i t s :  A t t r i b u t i o n (projection) of one's undesirself-defence or person perception?  l i s h e d manuscript, 3.  A study of the stress-  reducing e f f e c t of a t t r i b u t i v e projection.  4.  Unpub-  1976.  Hellman, R. & Houston, B. K.  manuscript,  1980.  Unpublished  1970.  Dunbar, J . , Brown, M. & Amoroso, D. M.  Sexual Liberalism-  Conservatism Scale, Sex Concern-Guilt Scale, Attitudes Toward Homosexuality  Scale.  Unpublished tests, n.d  47 References Bennett, D. H.. & Holmes, D. S.  Influence of denial and  projec-  tion on anxiety associated with threat to s e l f esteem. Journal of Personality and S o c i a l Psychology, 1975,  32,  915-921. Bramel, D.  Dissonance theory approach to defensive p r o j e c t i o n .  Journal of Abnormal and S o c i a l Psychology, 1962, Bramel, D.  Target  64, 121-129.  s e l e c t i o n for defensive projection.  of Abnormal and S o c i a l Psychology, 1963, Burish, T. G. & Houston, B. K.  Journal  66, 318-324.  Causal p r o j e c t i o n , s i m i l a r i t y  projection, and coping with threat to self-esteem. of Personality, 1979,  47, 57-60.  Burish, T. G., Houston, B. K. & Bloom, L. I.  Effectiveness of  complementary projection i n reducing s t r e s s . C l i n i c a l Psychology, 1978, Edlow, D. W. & K i e s l e r , C. A. jection.  Journal  Journal of  34, 200-206. Ease of denial and defensive pro-  Journal of Experimental S o c i a l Psychology,  1966,  2, 56-59. Epstein, R. & Baron, R. M.  Cognitive dissonance and  h o s t i l i t y towards outgroups. 1969,  79,  Halpern, J . thesis.  projected  Journal of S o c i a l Psychology,  171-182. Projection:  a test of the psychoanalytic  Journal of Abnormal psychology, 1977,  Heilbrun, A. B.  hypo-  86, 536-542.  Projective and regressive s t y l e s of processing  aversive information. Psychology, 1978,  46,  Journal of Consulting and 156-164.  Clinical  48 Holmes,  D. S .  Dimensions  Bulletin, Holmes,  Holmes,  Psychological  1968, 69, 2 4 8 - 2 6 8 .  D. S .  logical  of projection.  Projection  Bulletin,  Journal  Psycho-  1978, 85, 677-688*  D. S . & H o u s t o n ,  jection.  a s a mechanism o f defense.  B . K.  The defensive  of Personality  function  and S o c i a l  of  pro-  Psychology,  1971, 2 0 , 208-213. Mintz,  E.  An example  Abnormal Murray,  and S o c i a l Psychology,  H. A.  (Eds.),  Foreword.  to projective  B, & Pryer,  R.  The concept  Bulletin,  i n the self-concept  Journal  o f Abnormal  Stevens, of  G. G.  Abnormal  Zemore,  techniques.  8, 343-344.  review.  of  of i m -  persons.  1964, 68, 442-446.  projection.  Journal  1979, 8 8 , 6 3 5 - 6 4 0 .  W. E .  as a defense  An experimental mechanism.  investigation  Journal  of  Clinical  1970, 2 6 , 1 5 2 - 1 5 4 .  R. & Greenough, T.  Convention  a  Effects  on the perception  and S o c i a l Psychology,  Psychology,  projection  attributive  Engle-  of projection:  C l a s s i c a l and a t t r i b u t i v e  H. A. & Reitz,  Psychology,  Anderson  1959, 56, 353-374.  balance  of  of  1956, 52, 2 7 0 - 2 8 0 .  P . F . , B a c k m a n , C . W. & E a c h u s , H . T .  Sherwood,  Journal  P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1951.  Psychological Secord,  projection.  In H . H. Anderson & G. L .  An i n t r o d u c t i o n  wood C l i f f s : Murstein,  of assimilative  projection.  Reduction  o f ego t h r e a t  Proceedings  following  of the 81st Annual  of the American P s y c h o l o g i c a l A s s o c i a t i o n ,  1973,  49 Zuckerman, M.  The development of an a f f e c t adjective check  l i s t f o r the measurement of anxiety. Psychology, 1960, 2if, 457-462.  Journal of Consulting  Appendix I  Homosexual Defensiveness  Questionnaire  51 Instructions. Following, i s a series of statements concerning several aspects of human sexuality. Below each statement are the numbers one to s i x , number one meaning strong disagreement with the statement and number s i x i n d i c a t i n g strong agreement. Please indicate your l e v e l of agreement by c i r c l i n g the number which corresponds to your opinions. 1. Premarital sexual r e l a t i o n s often equip persons f o r more stable and happier marriages. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 2. Things wouldn't be as bad as they are i f people exercised more control over t h e i r sexual impulses. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 3. Homosexuality i s a rotten perversion. 1 . 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 4. Homosexuality ought to be suppressed. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 5. I f e e l uncomfortable when a male friend embraces me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 6. Male nudity i n the movies i s disgusting. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 7. Sometimes I do sexual things which l a t e r I f e e l g u i l t y about. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 8. I would never be seen i n public with a known homosexual . 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 9. Men should be encouraged to show more a f f e c t i o n to each other. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree . agree 10. Religious groups should not attempt to impose t h e i r standards of sexual behaviour on others. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 1 1 . I would i n v i t e known homosexuals to a party i n my home. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 12. Pornography corrupts the moral f i b r e of society. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 13. I have never thought-of having sex with another man. 1 . 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree  '  ,  52  14. Sex i s one of the biggest problems i n our society. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 15. I f e e l uncomfortable being undressed i n public changing rooms and showers. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 16. Homosexual marriages should be o f f i c i a l l y recognized. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 17. When I am sad, I enjoy having a friend put h i s arm around me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 18. Oral-genital a c t i v i t y i s a d i r t y and disgusting p r a c t i c e . 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 19. If I found out that my friend was a homosexual, I would end our friendship. 1 2 3 4 5 6 disagree agree 20. Please rate your own sexual orientation on the following scale. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 completely bisexual completely heterosexual homosexual i n thought i n thought and behaviour and behaviour.  Appendix II  Affect Adjective Check L i s t  5k L i s t e d below are a place a check mark to you r i g h t now. to your mood r i g h t active afraid agreeable alive alone amiable angry awful bitter blue calm cheerful clean contented cooperative cruel desperate destroyed didagreeable discontented discouraged disgusted enraged enthusiastic fearful fine fit forlorn free friendly  number of words which r e f e r to mood. Please on the l i n e behind those words which apply Be sure to indicate only the words which apply at t h i s moment. frightened furious glad gloomy good good-natured happy healthy hopeless inspired interested irritated joyful kindly lively lonely lost loving low lucky mad mean merry miserable nervous offended outraged panicky peaceful pleasant.  polite rejected sad safe secure shaky steady stormy strong suffering sunk sympathetic tame tender tense terrible terrified thoughtful tormented understanding unhappy unsociable upset vexed whole wilted willful worrying young  Appendix III  Sexual Arousal Scale  56 Please indicate on the scale below how are f e e l i n g r i g h t now.  sexually aroused you  C i r c l e the number which best  corres-  ponds to your l e v e l of arousal. 1 not at a l l aroused  2  3  k  5  6 very strongly aroused  Appendix IV  A t t r a c t i v e n e s s / D e s i r a b i l i t y Scale  58 Please indicate on the scale below how a t t r a c t i v e and desirable you perceive the models to be r i g h t now.  C i r c l e the num-  ber which corresponds to how a t t r a c t i v e you think they are. Male Model  5  not at a l l attractive Female Model  I  5  1  not at a l l attractive Female Model 1  not at a l l attractive  6  very a t t r a c t i v e  6  very a t t r a c t i v e  II 1  3  5  6  very a t t r a c t i v e  

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