Trust the Zodiac and Predictions, Be Careful of the Barnum Effect!

Not a few people believe in various character determination tests based on zodiac signs, physical characteristics, and others. Without us realizing it, it could be the Barnum effect.

Trust the Zodiac and Predictions, Be Careful of the Barnum Effect!
Pisces Horoscope |

We have read zodiac articles, predictions, and personality tests based on certain physical characteristics. Not a few of us believe in determining character based on the zodiac. Unconsciously, we are actually influenced by the Barnum effect.

In this digital era, the dissemination of information can occur very quickly. Unfortunately, some of the information that is being spread cannot be guaranteed to be true. What's worse is that many people believe this information.

We need to understand what the Barnum effect is and what the effects of the Barnum effect are in order to be able to ascertain whether the existing information is correct or not.


What is the Barnum Effect?

Launching from - What is the Barnum Effect? This is the reason predictions feel right; the Barnum effect is a psychological event when a person's brain believes or believes the description or information received, even though the information also applies to other people or the information is general.

An example of the Barnum effect is when you read an article that explains that the Aquarius zodiac sign has a calm personality, then you believe that you have a very calm attitude. In fact, on the other hand, you can be someone with an active personality.


Why is it called the Barnum Effect?

Barnum & Balley Circus

Every naming term in the world of psychology is not arbitrary, you know. Naming terms are usually taken from an event, the Name of the person, place name, and others, including the naming of the Barnum effect, which comes from the Name of a businessman.

Long ago, in the 19th century, there was a Barnum & Balley circus business. The owner of the circus was an American named Barnum. The circus was very famous in its era because it had many unique features.

Barnum, the circus owner, recruited people with physical disabilities such as dwarfism and conjoined twins from the slums. Apart from that, Barnum also featured a mermaid skeleton, you know.

All the spectators were amazed by the performance of the Barnum & Balley circus, even though what was being shown was just a composition. Yup, Barnum wrote the essay in such a way that the audience would believe it. The mermaid skeleton is actually just a combination of monkey and fish skeletons made from crushed paper.

Apart from that, Barnum also once made a statement that a loser is born every minute. This statement invited many protests from experts, one of which was psychologist Paul Everett Meehl. Paul said that Barnum's statement was baseless. Then, the term Barnum effect or Barnum-forer effect emerged.


Bertram R. Forer Research

Apart from Paul, Bertram R. Forer also conducted research. The research was conducted on 39 students by telling them they would get a personality description. After sharing the personality description results, most students considered the description accurate, with an average score of 4.26 on a scale of 0 to 5. In fact, the contents of the personality description were taken by Bertram from Astrology books and commonly used sentences.


Benefits of the Barnum Effect

Even though it originates from events that tend to be negative, the Barnum-Forer effect also has benefits. Among them:

  1. Increase confidence in yourself or others.
  2. Reduce insecurity.
  3. Provide encouragement and motivation.
  4. Be a positive suggestion.


The Dangers of the Barnum Effect

Apart from having benefits, the Barnum effect is also dangerous and can be a time bomb for a person's mental health.

  1. The Barnum effect can reduce a person's self-confidence if the information received is in the form of negative sentences.
  2. Increases feelings of insecurity.
  3. Excessive Barnum effect has the potential to cause a person to suffer from anxiety disorders.
  4. Having excessive self-confidence.


It's a good idea for us to be wiser in receiving information to avoid bad effects that can affect our psychology.