Wednesday, 8 August 2007

The Forer Effect

Those of you who suspected the text I presented two posts ago was related to cold reading were correct.

Wikipedia: In 1948, psychologist Bertram R. Forer gave a personality test to his students, and then gave them a personality analysis supposedly based on the test's results.

He invited each of them to rate the analysis on a scale of 0 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) as it applied to themselves: the average was 4.26. He then revealed that each student had been given the same analysis, which was the text that was in that last post.

Later studies have found that subjects give higher accuracy ratings if the following are true
  • the subject believes that the analysis applies only to them
  • the subject believes in the authority of the evaluator
  • the analysis lists mainly positive traits
I embellished the list slightly by adding the J (the most common male initial), M (the most common female initial) and the 2 (statistically more likely to be in house numbers, ages, etc than other numbers.)


  1. Very interesting! LOL, I like your labels: Fraud and Scams.

  2. Having closely watched some 'cold readings' I can see how they are so clever at getting people 'sucked in'.
    I find it a little sad, how may people Wish to be 'sucked in'.

  3. Oh..I thought you're pinpointing on somebody when you mentioned the J and M which have no effect on me! But interesting to know this, really!


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