Let Me Tell You Your Fortune!

Welcome everyone!

I would like to try an experiment, it is very simple all you do is read the paragraph below and see if you can identify it with yourself. 

You have a great need for other people to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. Security is one of your major goals in life.

How did I do?  Was it spot on?  Chances are you were able to relate to this fortune or personality test to yourself.    What you just read was the result of a personality test that was administered in 1948 by psychologist Bertram Forer.  Forer would give his students a personality test to his students and totally disregard their answers.  After the test was finished Forer would tell the students that they would receive a personality analysis unique to each student.  When the students received the analysis they were then asked to give it a rating from 0-5, 0 being worst and 5 being excellent.

However the students didn’t receive a unique analysis, they all received the same exact evaluation, which is what you just read above.  Interestingly enough in 1948 the average rating was 4.26.  Today this test is still administered in colleges throughout the world; it has been repeated hundreds of times with an average rating of 4.2 out of 5. 

Forer assembled his paragraph from a bunch of different horoscopes.  He did this to show that people have a tendency to rate sets of statements as extremely accurate to them even though the statements could apply to many people.  This is now called the Forer effect.  This effect can actually explain why certain people believe in things like astrology, tarot, fortune telling, etc.    

There are also 3 things that help influence this effect.

  • If the subject believes that the analysis only applies to them
  • If the subject believes in the authority of the person doing the evaluating or administering the test
  • The analysis lists mainly positive traits

If these 3 factors are in play, people usually give higher accuracy ratings. 

Thanks for reading Pork Rhine.

Resources:

http://www.skepdic.com/forer.html

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About Bobby the Paranormal Skeptic
Bobby Nelson is a skeptic, writer, and co-host of Strange Frequencies Radio. His personal blog can be found online at www.porkrhine.com At one time, Bobby was what could be called a "true believer" in paranormal phenomenon. Having been an active investigator of the paranormal for 12 years with several different Toledo based teams, he has examined countless claims of activity. But years worth of research and investigation proved to him that the evidence for these claims are generally lacking and, furthermore, the vast majority of so-called scientific paranormal investigators were using improper methodologies which caused them to draw both false and misleading conclusions.

8 Responses to Let Me Tell You Your Fortune!

  1. Ozzy says:

    This is very interesting and accurate. As I was reading it myself, I could relate and almost thought the “reading” was meant for me. Forer must have been a genius! This is excellent work.

  2. Rachel says:

    Yeah…I totally related to that passage…

    I’m a sucker for horoscopes. I read mine everyday, sometimes from multiple sources. I tend to see how the fit with my life and I really make stretches to do so. But I do it for entertainment, I don’t live my life or honestly believe them. Also, the context is really interesting. I also do tarot readings for friends at parties and the like for fun…and I always explain afterwards how I pull it off.

    Nice article on the Rhine 🙂

  3. sandip beladiya says:

    please sir give me tarot reading!!!!!

    • Bobby the Paranormal Skeptic says:

      I don’t know if you understood the point of this article. It was to show that things like astrology, fortune telling and even tarot card readings are so vague and indistinguishable it can relate to anyone. However if you would like, I would be glad to give you a reading just so I can show you that it is nonspecific and can relate to anyone.

  4. Michele says:

    When I first started reading this article, my very first thought was “this sounds like Bobby”. I personally didn’t feel that it was meant for me at all. But I totally agree with you, some or most people will be able to find a way to relate to a “reading” in some aspect, just because the spectrum of their life can go in many ways, as well as the words in a “reading”. Now if this particular “reading” was specified to certain group, such as the students of a college, then the wording is aimed at them. Now if you have a “reading” aimed at people with an interest in bowling for example (silly I know), then I would more than likely be able to relate to it.

  5. Michele says:

    Now, I just read this to my husband, I specifically told him that this was a “reading” just for him. So, after reading it, I asked him what he thought, and he said that “yeah, that sounds alot like me”. Then I informed him that it was actually not a reading for him but a test from 1948, and proceeded to read the article to him. And he was amazed. He said he would actually rate it a 4.

    • Michele says:

      Now I don’t feel that this describes my husband. So he tells me to tell him why and how I don’t feel this, so I therefore broke it down to just a sentence at a time, and asked him if he felt that sentence could relate, when I did it this way, he only felt that one or two of the sentences actually related to him. So I then questioned him, if only one or two things actually related, why give it a 4?

      • Bobby the Paranormal Skeptic says:

        I think that proves the point. It is showing how people relate to things that can relate to almost everyone. The test wasnt to break it down and go sentence by sentence, but doing it that way, why not apply that to someone like John Edward? Brake it down sentence by sentence and see how many “hits” he really gets.

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