This week, I leaned something particularly intriguing called…
Functional Projection

My discovery of this intriguing idea occurred while studying for…
Social Psych-PGS350

I found this idea intriguing because…
Functional projection essentially explains that, when people have certain desires, it leads them to see things that are relevant to those desires.  We learned about this particular theory during our chapter regarding love and romantic relationships, and more specifically, the section regarding sexual satisfaction.  The idea of functional projection came up when discussing the mechanisms of flirting between men and women.  Compared to women, men rend to perceive more sexuality in heterosexual interactions.  A man and woman can have an interaction with each other, and often, the man will perceive the interaction as overtly sexual while the woman will see the interaction as simply friendly and platonic.  The reasoning behind this is functional projection: men have a relatively low threshold for sexual interaction.  The idea that men constantly have sex on the brain has a solid scientific basis, and because of this fact, they perceive nonsexual interactions as sexual solely because of the sexual desires that exist within them. Ultimately, the thing about this that I find the most interesting is that our desires CHANGE what we see and how we see it!  Human psychology is amazing.

I would label this “intriguing idea” as a theory, concept, method, or other…
I would label this “intriguing idea” as a theory.  As defined by dictionary.com, a theory is a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and a prediction for a class of phenomena.  The concept of functional projection follows this format.

I can think of at least three ways I can apply this intriguing idea…
(1) First and foremost, knowledge of this idea will allow me to alter my interactions with men to fall in line with what I now know they perceive. Steven Neuberg, my PGS350 professor, explained to us that psychologically, for women, no doesn’t always mean no while, for men, no means no and yes means yes.  Our sexual differences are psychologically based, and now I can change my behaviors to become consistent with how others are going to perceive those behaviors.
(2) I have always been a fan of the Buddhist goal of ridding yourself of possessions and desires in order to achieve nirvana and enlightenment. Philosophically, it makes perfect sense. Although I don’t plan on surrendering my iPhone to anybody any time soon, I think it is important for me to understand these principles in the way I live my life. Possessions are a distraction, and the more I understand this, the more enlightened it will be!
(3) This idea of functional projection is a theory that applies to the human race universally. This allows me to understand human desires and behaviors as a whole, applying it to whatever I may need to in the future.

This intriguing idea is surprisingly similar to something I learned in another class, which was…
In philosophy, a couple weeks ago we discussed the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.  They are as follows:
1.  Suffering exists.
2.  The origin of suffering is our desires.
3.  The way to end suffering is to eliminate all desires.
4.  You will eliminate these desires through the Eightfold Path.
Desires and pleasure are both things that are frequently brought up in philosophical discussion.  Buddhists in particular see that desires serve as a distraction: they skew your perception of the world.  This falls in line with the idea of functional projection.  This idea that human perception and experience change based on our desires is based both philosophically and psychologically.

If this idea were a song, it would be…
It’s true, you can’t always get what you want.  But perhaps we should not WANT anything in the first place…

If this idea were a food, it would be…
If functional projection were a food, it would be ice cream because, when you eat ice cream, it makes you cold. This idea of having one thing on your mind–or in your hand–influencing what you see or how you feel falls in line with functional projection.

If someone wanted to learn more about this idea, they could read any of the following books or articles…
Freudian Projection Explained, The Four Noble Truths

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