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The Barnum Effect

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113840 “The Barnum effect is the given to a type of ive validation in which a person finds personal meaning in ments that could apply to many people, ” http: //skepdic. com/barnum. html It is an unalterable desire to be praised, flattered and the belief that the individual is capable of greater deeds, which leads into our believing the general and vague prophecies of even the manipulating source. Feror called this souse as Subjective validation that has a certain unlimited power over the psyche of even the strangers, mainly due to guess work and clever manoeuvring.

“Subjective validation is the process of validating words, initials, statements or signs as accurate because one is able to find them personally meaningful and significant” http: //skepdic. com/subjectivevalidation. html Described by Psychologist Paul Meehle, but named after P. T. Barnum, that one of the greatest showmen, who used it in his ‘psychic demonstrations’ to guess about the volunteers and made it immensely popular, Barnum effect is a universal factor. The way professional manipulators of any subject give a mysteriously hidden message that makes the reader immediately feel that there is a certain hidden message meant only for him.

The person also feels that the writer, who has written knows everything about the reader and this psychological state is called Cold Reading. This is not limited to mere manoeuvring and flattery and goes beyond it with an inherent potential for hypnotising and hidden nuances, and deep psychological manipulations. “In the course of a successful reading, the psychic may provide most of the words, but it is the client that provides most of the meaning and all of the significance, ” (Rowland (2000: 60, taken from http: //skepdic. com/coldread. html) The phenomenon is named after P. T.

Barnum who said that ‘a good circus has a little something for everybody’ and “There is a sucker born every minute” mainly because his shows thrived on the gullibility of people, ordinary and uncommon both. This concept plays on the innocence of the people who think that they are unique and others could see it. This gives way to personality tests and inventories, usually ending up in a stunningly personalised Barnum effect. Psychologist Bertram Forer too studied this effect and sometimes it is referred as Forer Effect.

Sometimes these writing are absolutely far fetched; but in a way, they could sound real and within reach. Sometimes in believers, this could provide a mental stimulation and motivation and make them undertake immense tasks that had been hitherto avoided.

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preview essay on The Barnum Effect
  • Pages: 4 (1000 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Unsorted
  • Level: Undergraduate
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