Social projection to ingroups and outgroups: a review and meta-analysis

Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2005;9(1):32-47. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr0901_3.


Social projection is the tendency to expect similarities between oneself and others. A review of the literature and a meta-analysis reveal that projection is stronger when people make judgments about ingroups than when they make judgments about outgroups. Analysis of moderator variables further reveals that ingroup projection is stronger for laboratory groups than for real social categories. The mode of analysis (i.e., nomothetic vs. idiographic) and the order of judgments (i.e., self or group judged first) have no discernable effects. Outgroup projection is positive, but small in size. Together, these findings support the view that projection can serve as an egocentric heuristic for inductive reasoning. The greater strength of ingroup projection can contribute to ingroup-favoritism, perceptions of ingroup homogeneity, and cooperation with ingroup members.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Personal Construct Theory
  • Projection*
  • Psychometrics
  • Social Desirability
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Perception*