The Barnum Effect
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The paper explains that the Barnum effect refers to one's tendency to accept very vague or general statements to be accurate characterizations of oneself. The paper discusses how graphology and psychometric tests can cause people to get a false or skewed opinion of themselves. The paper further discusses how being cautious of all-purpose descriptions that could apply to anyone, being wary of selective perceptions, and resisting flattery will help an individual be protected from the Barnum effect.
From the Paper:"The Barnum Effect is named after a circus showman, P.T. Barnum, who believed that to "have a little something for everybody" is an indispensable ingredient to success (Snyder & Shenkel, 1975, as cited in faxed material). As a term used in Psychology, Barnum effect refers to one's tendency to accept very vague or general statements to be accurate characterizations of oneself. It is the underlying principle in astrology, horoscope, palm reading, tarot reading, crystal ball gazing, graphology (handwriting analysis), and some psychometric tests.
"Many psychologists are alarmed, knowing that people are susceptible to Barnum Effect and that stimuli are ubiquitous. If people regard graphology and other forms of "general" assessments as non-insightful but entertaining, then concern would be limited. Yet many people even seek out such as "guidance"--believing the claims, influencing their actions, and thus affecting the way they live."
Sample of Sources Used:
- MacDonald, D.J. & Standing, L.G. (2002). Does Self-Serving Bias Cancel the Barnum Effect? Social Behavior and Personality, 30 (6), 625-630.
- Ulrich, C. (2004). Dissecting the Process of Reasoning. Human Ecology, 32 (2), 15-19.
- Wittrock, D.A. & Foraker, S.L. (2001). Tension-Type Headache and Stressful Events: The Selective Memory in Reporting of Stressors. The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 41(5), 482-493.
Cite this Persuasive Essay:
The Barnum Effect (2010, July 29) Retrieved February 06, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/persuasive-essay/the-barnum-effect-128598/
"The Barnum Effect" 29 July 2010. Web. 06 February. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/persuasive-essay/the-barnum-effect-128598/>