Barnum effect

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When we can identify oneself with a relative precision in a definition in which a large number of people can also identify themselves, is it the Barnum effect?


[edit] Definition

The Barnum Effect has been identified and named by Bertram R. Forer, who makes a reference wink to the magic of the circus created by Barnum.

This effect can especially be applied to the following fields:

  • Astrology
  • Graphology
  • Horoscopes
  • Clairvoyance
  • Many typologies related to personalities definition,
  • Pseudo-sciences in general.

[edit] The Test

Read the text below, as the students of Forer did in 1948, and evaluate its pertinence about yourself on a scale from 0 to 5:

"You need to be loved and be admired; however you are critical towards yourself. You certainly have weaknesses in your personality, but you generally know how to balance them. You have a considerable potential that you have not turned to your advantage. Outside you are disciplined and you know how to behave, but inside you tend to be preoccupied and not so sure of yourself. Sometimes you seriously wonder if you made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain dose of change and variety and become dissatisfied if surrounded by restrictions and limitations. You flatter yourself to be an independent thinker, and you accept the others' opinion only if rigorously demonstrated. But you have noticed that it is unwise to reveal oneself too easily to others. Sometimes you are extroverted, talkative and sociable, while another times you are introverted, wary and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic."

If finally, you can identify yourself like everyone else, you might have noticed this text at for example 4.2 / 5...

If you want to try the version proposed by Henri Broch, who chose to call it "Well Effect":

"You need that other people love and admire you but you are still able to be critical towards yourself. Although you have a few weaknesses in your character, you are generally able to balance them. You have considerable capacities that you did not used yet to your advantage. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic. Outside disciplined and exercising self-control, you tend inside to be anxious and uncertain. Sometimes you even have serious doubts if you made the right decision. You prefer a little change and variety and are unhappy when you are stuck within restrictions or limitations. Sometimes you are extroverted, talkative and sociable, while in other times you are introverted, cautious and reserved. You are also proud of yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept the statements of others without satisfactory proofs. You consider unwise to be too frank by revealing yourself to others."

You would notice as well that correspondence with yourself over 4 / 5...

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