Get to know what the Barnum Effect is, a phenomenon that makes you believe in zodiac signs

The results of personality tests or zodiac predictions are not completely true, you have to know what the Barnum effect is so you don't get fooled.

Get to know what the Barnum Effect is, a phenomenon that makes you believe in zodiac signs
Barnum Effect Illustration |

You must have often heard about zodiac predictions and personality tests based on certain characteristics such as blood type or character tests. You may have wondered why articles like that suit someone's personality. This can happen because of the Barnum effect!

Don't worry if you don't know what the Barnum effect is. I'll explain it casually for you here.


What is the Barnum Effect?

The Barnum Effect is a psychological phenomenon that makes a person think a description of themselves is completely accurate, even though it is only general and can be applied to everyone.

Origins of the Barnum Effect

This psychological phenomenon was discovered in the 19th century by a circus owner named Barnum in America. He recruited people with physical disabilities and told fictional stories about them as part of his circus acts. He even displayed a skeleton, which he claimed was a mermaid skeleton, when, in fact, the skeleton was just a combination of monkey and fish skeletons made from crushed paper.

The famous phrase often attributed to Barnum is "There's a sucker born every minute." This phrase sparked many protests, so the Barnum effect became interesting to research at that time.

Bertram R. Forer Research

Researcher Bertram R. Forer conducted a study on the Barnum effect by giving psychological tests to 39 students. As a result, most considered the personality description accurate, even though it was only general and could be applied to everyone.


Is the Barnum Effect Dangerous?

In psychology, the Barnum effect is considered dangerous because it can have negative impacts, such as reducing self-confidence and increasing worries that have not yet happened. However, the Barnum effect can also have benefits, such as instilling positive suggestions in someone and making them better.

Therefore, it is important not to believe too much in zodiac predictions or personality tests, which are only general and have no scientific basis. We should gain an understanding of ourselves more concretely and based on direct experience.

You can try to identify yourself through hobbies, interests, or work you like. Or you can ask the people closest to you about their opinion about your personality. Don't be afraid to learn and develop yourself to become a better person.

Benefits of the Barnum Effect

The Barnum Effect can hurt a person's psychology if not handled wisely. However, this effect can also provide positive suggestions and make us confident.

For example, you can praise or appreciate a friend or colleague, even if it seems simple or ordinary. You can leave comments like "Wow, you were great at working on this project!" or "You always come up with brilliant ideas in meetings; I admire you."

By giving these compliments, the Barnum effect will make the person feel more confident and better about themselves. Of course, you must ensure the praise is true and appropriate to the person's performance or personality.

However, you need to remember not to get caught up in the Barnum effect and believe too much in descriptions or predictions that are not necessarily true. Don't make important decisions based on descriptions or predictions that are unclear and have not been verified.


Example of the Barnum Effect

Examples of the application of the Barnum effect are in personality tests and zodiac predictions. Even though the descriptions given are very general and can be applied to everyone, the Barnum effect makes people feel like they were made especially for them. They trust the test results and use them to understand themselves or make important decisions.


Tips for Responding to the Barnum Effect

We need to remain critical in receiving information and personality test results. We must understand that the descriptions are only general and can be applied to many people, not just ourselves. Don't be easily trapped by the suggestions given by the Barnum effect.
For example, you may experience a situation where your personality test results say you are creative and talented in the arts. While this may be true, it doesn't mean you can't become an expert in other fields, such as mathematics or science. You must keep yourself open, learning, developing, and exploring your potential.