Complementary Projection Bias

Reading time: 2,060 words, 6 pages, 5 to 8 minutes.

Another of our dangerous mental biases is Complementary Projection, a type of Cognitive Bias in which people believe that more people share their beliefs and values than actually do. We ‘project’ our beliefs and values onto other people and overestimate the extent to which other people also have them.

Good Therapy  says Complementary Projection occurs “when a person assumes that others feel the same way they do. For example, a person with a particular political persuasion might take it for granted that someone else shares her beliefs.”   It is similar to the False Consensus Effect where we project our beliefs and values onto people within our group, whereas in Complementary Projection we project them onto people outside our group.

Humans are social creatures. We like to feel ‘normal’ and fit in and be liked by other people. We tend to believe that our opinions are shared and attributing one’s personal characteristics to others reinforces our self-esteem. Unfortunately, like many of our biases, they can also be harmful or dangerous. With Complementary Projection, the danger is the increased likelihood that, with the best of intentions, we open the door to those who would harm us.

Complementary Projection should not be confused with ‘Complimentary Projection.’ Notice the sixth letter is ‘i’ rather than ‘e.’  ‘Complimentary Projection with an ‘i’ “… is the assumption that other people can do the same things as well as oneself. For example, an accomplished pianist might take it for granted that other piano students can play the piano equally well.”  The former involves values and beliefs; the latter involves skills.

One also finds complementary projections in numerous other fields unrelated to psychology. There is Complementary Projection Hashing which is computer-related. There is Oxford Journal’s  paper involving the cerebral cortex of the brain. There are also complementary projections of mathematical convex polytopes. There are neurotic interpretations and no doubt many others down this curious rabbit-hole.

The disconcerting bias of Complementary Projection is especially evident in politics as seen during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election which demonstrated extreme partisanship on both sides.  Under the subtitle Blinded by Anti-Leftism Jeffrey Tucker writes, “Why would anyone believe that Trump is anything but a state builder? Much of it has to do with the strange way in which people infuse candidates with their own ideological longings, hoping against hope that Trump shares their values. In other words, Trump’s supporters, like so many people, are subject to the Complementary Projection bias.

Complementary Projection also leads to intolerance when we are unable to project our knowledge-based values based onto those less knowledgeable and thus find them lacking. On a Christian FaceBook group, the group moderator wrote this about a young atheist anarcho-capitalist (ancap). “I’m in a dialog with a young atheist ancap. Her ignorance and hostility to Christianity was staggering … I suppose she is a product of the nation’s woeful education system.”  The older Christian with more education and experience than the young ‘ancap’ is unable to project his knowledge and beliefs onto her and so, finding no target, he considers her deficient.

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”  – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Another reason complementary projection can be perilous is its similarity to one of our greatest human foibles, self-deception. A monkey might fool another monkey, but no monkey will fool itself. Willful self-deception is strictly a human trait. As one writer put it, “Projection is at the root of human foibles.”  The more we can fool ourselves, the more others will be inclined to profit from our gullibility and, most likely, to our disadvantage. As Derek Landy said, “The lies we tell other people are nothing to the lies we tell ourselves.”

Admittedly, some self-deception can be a handy survival mechanism, but past a certain point, it can be harmful. In the book States of Denial, Stanley Cohen explains how the ability to repress, disavow, push aside or reinterpret is often helpful, even necessary, in the development of our species and civilization. “The inhabitants of Beirut, Bogota or Belfast cannot live in a permanent state of heightened awareness that a car bomb may go off at any minute. Some switching off is necessary to get through the round of everyday life.”  However, Gregory Bateson says, “There is always an optimal value beyond which anything is toxic.” (Goleman, p. 245)


If you find the incidents below offensive, then you may be prone to Complementary Bias because you’re projecting your values onto people whose cultural values are far different than yours.

I worked with a retired British soldier once stationed in Aden, a city in Yemen. Soldiers had ‘bat-boys’ (a resident serving as butler, servant, and ‘go-fer’ that shined their boots, ran errands, etc.). Being young, full of the milk-of-human-kindness and projecting Complementary Bias, he was offended by the other soldiers’ rough treatment of their ‘bat-boys’ and vowed to treat his more humanely.

His ‘bat-boy’ was insolent, lazy and pilfered from him. An experienced veteran took the young soldier aside and told him he was doing it all wrong. The locals saw kindness and mercy as signs of weakness. After dressing in the morning, he should call in his ‘bat-boy’ and tell him to turn around, bend over and then administer a hard, swift kick in the ass to show him who’s boss. Reluctantly, he did so. To his surprise, the ‘bat-boy’s work habits and morale improved considerably, and he stopped stealing.

Another former soldier told me about the British military stationed in India before India’s independence. Officers on foot carried a ‘swagger stick’ (cavalry carried riding crops) tucked under their arms. What Wikipedia doesn’t tell you is what their purpose was. In a dense crowd, an officer would walk a straight line and cudgel anyone who came within arms’ length to create a physical ‘safe space’ around them. If they didn’t do that, officers would be bruised black and blue from errant elbows in short order.

Here is a third example. Those soldiers stationed in India marched in formation from barracks to disembarkation points and vice versa. A tractor followed them towing a flat-bed wagon carrying soldiers’ kit-bags (duffel bags containing clothing and personal items). Guards stationed at each corner of the trailer with clubs to fend off sticky fingers otherwise the trailer would be quickly emptied by thieves. The drivers were ordered NOT to stop under any circumstances and, if necessary, to drive over ‘cripples’ deliberately placed in their path. Stopping, even briefly, attracted swarms of thieves that sped off with the kit bags despite repeated blows from the guards’ clubs.

Nowadays, slavery gangs cripple and profit from maimed child beggars. The mainstream media turns a blind eye to modern slavery. “The image of the wino taking the money he receives around the corner to the liquor store is replaced by the slave owner who beats and starves those who do not return with enough earnings.”  However, Slate warns never to give money to child beggars in India.“Giving money to child beggars is the least generous thing a tourist can do.”  Kidnapped children are deliberately starved and maimed before being put to work as beggars. In the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire a child in Mumbai, India, is intentionally blinded so he could bring in more money. That’s fact, not fiction.

The degree to which the preceding examples unsettle you may indicate the strength of your Complementary Bias. If so, you need to be aware of this bias and govern yourself accordingly.


The negative consequences of Complementary Projection are becoming increasingly evident nowadays as refugees and migrants are welcomed by Europeans who fail to understand the vast differences between Islam and the West. The recent furor over refugees illustrates Complementary Projection in peoples’ willingness to unquestioningly embrace and accept complete strangers from foreign lands having language, cultures, beliefs and agendas much different than our own.

I am concerned that refugees need careful screening before admitting them. Expressing such unease often provokes the response “Yes, but they’re human beings.” My reply is “so what?” Serial killers Jack the Ripper and Charles Manson were also human beings. Would you invite the aforementioned serial killers home to have dinner with your family just because they’re human? Such sarcasm is lost on people who are well-meaning, but naïve. Besides, ‘human’ is a race, not an excuse for uncivilized behavior.

Quite bluntly, many of these migrant ‘cultural enrichers’ are no more than 7th century inbred savages compared to civilized Westerners. Misguided European leaders think that Islam could mingle easily and harmoniously in the Western world; that Islam is a religion of peace “and that the jihadis belong to a tiny, marginal sect.”  Alas, they’re wrong on all counts.

Clif High says that Muslim immigrants are the 52nd generation of a religiously enhanced inbred population. The Koran (Qu’ran) allows marriages between cousins largely for economic reasons. By concentrating wealth within families, they avoided being bled dry by outsiders. However, the offspring of consanguineous unions result in increased recessive disorders. The global consanguinity map below shows its prevalence in Mid-East Muslim countries.


According to Clif High, Islamic ‘special needs’ children in Denmark increased from single digit percentages to over 53% in those school districts with high concentrations of Muslims resulting in an increase of 353% in service demand within two months of Islamic immigration. As a result of fourteen centuries of inbreeding, many Muslims are now aggressive, short-tempered, intellectually deficient and have short attention spans.


The Qu’ran 33: 59 teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused.”  The implication is that if women do not cover themselves adequately, they may justifiably be sexually abused.

Next to the city of Lesotho in Southern Africa the country of Sweden is becoming known as the rape capital of the world followed by Denmark as a result of Muslim immigration. Unbridled Complementary Projection leads to ‘no-go zones’ where even police fear to tread in France and Britain as  well as Germany where the migrant rape crisis spirals out of control which should be no surprise since its leadership is clearly insane: “Chancellor Merkel: Germans Need to Learn to Integrate With the Immigrants.” In Austria “the number of sexual assaults committed by migrants living in Austria rose by a staggering 133 percent in 2016…”  In Belgium the authorities have allowed the situation to deteriorate  to the point of surrender. However, Sweden is at least beginning to press charges for aggravated rape and Iceland seems to be the only country actively deporting Jihadis whereas Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states offered to take none although they try to give the appearance that they do.

These migrants blame racist Swedes for Stockholm’s car burning epidemic.A migrant has admitted asylum seekers are behind the spate of car fires in Sweden but said ‘racist Swedes’ were to blame for the way they treat the new arrivals.” This increased lawlessness in Europe is caused by feel-good, liberal policies fueled by Complementary Projection. North Americans may feel smug being far from Europe, but the same mental bias and liberal attitude afflicts both President Obama and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in fast-tracking Muslim refugees.

Some people believe this is the Kalergi Plan to open “European borders to large-scale immigration from the Third World, especially from Muslim lands (Africa, the Middle East, and Asia) and has promoted the culture, language, and religion of Islam as being foundational and on par with European civilization.”  Whether this is true or not is beyond the scope of this article, but if it is then considerable historical misunderstanding about Islam makes this possible.

A future article will examine Emmett Scott’s radical history of Islam based on an abundance of recent archeological evidence which demonstrates that almost everything we think we know about Islam is, in fact, erroneous and dangerous.

Stay tuned.


December 10, 2016

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About gerold

I have a bit of financial experience having invested in stocks in the 1960s & 70s, commodities in the 80s & commercial real estate in the 90s (I sold in 2005.) I'm back in stocks. I am appalled at our rapidly deteriorating global condition so I've written articles for family, friends & colleagues since 2007; warning them and doing my best to explain what's happening, what we can expect in the future and what you can do to prepare and mitigate the worst of the economic, social, political and nuclear fallout. As a public service in 2010 I decided to create a blog accessible to a larger number of people because I believe that knowledge not shared is wasted.
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7 Responses to Complementary Projection Bias

  1. Janice says:

    I have very much enjoyed reading this because I am incompetent. Please send me any new posts

  2. Capn Mike says:

    Roy, Gerold,
    Got here from TBP.
    Great article.

  3. dc.sunsets says:

    We exist today near apogee of the most extreme social mood mania in recorded history. It is characterized by Utopian schemes in money, finance, economics, politics & culture, and clearly illustrates the Jungian archetype of “flight,” where people believe they have cast off Earthly limits.

    The piling up of an Everest-sized Mt. Vesuvius of debt, fiat money, Wars on Poverty, drugs, inequality and pathological altruism as political policy are all cut from the same cloth.

    All will end together, in rivers of tears, then rivers of blood.

    • gerold says:

      How come you never give me anything to argue against, DC? Maybe I should befriend a Democrat just for shits & giggles (just kidding.)

      One thing you missed is extreme partisanship although that could fall under your “extreme social mood mania.” I’ve been following U.S. Presidential elections since 1972 and I have never seen such extremely divisive partisanship as the 2016 election. From a Canadian view point, it’s like watching your neighbor’s house burn down. I hope the Fire Fighters get there soon before it spreads!

      Funny you should mention Jung. I keep getting dragged back to him, most recently a few videos about Clif High and his predictive linguistics. He’s taken ‘wordbots’ to the next level beyond just descriptive to forecasting based on words people use on the internet as a reflection of Jung’s collective unconscious.

      Note to self: find some time to study Carl Jung.

      – Gerold

  4. Roy says:

    I submitted this post to . Don’t expect many comments.

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