Rus Articles Journal

Who and why trusts in astrology? Barnum`s effect. Part 2

So, scientists, having become interested in survivability of astrology, decided to check - and suddenly in it really something is? And scientists thoroughly work.

Still Karl Jung tried to find out how influence durability of marriage of 483 married couples an arrangement of the Moon and Sun at the time of the birth of spouses. He did not manage to find significant correlations.

the Psychologist from Michigan State University Bernard Silverman executed fuller research, having studied data on 2978 weddings and 478 stains registered in Michigan in 1967 - 1968. Dates of birth of each of spouses were taken. The scientist compared the obtained data with forecasts of two independent astrologers on favorable and adverse zodiac signs for the conclusion of marriages. It turned out that predictions did not coincide with reality in any way. One spouses with “adverse“ signs perfectly lived in peace whereas other couples, despite “ideally suitable signs“, got divorced.

the American physicist John Mack - Dzhervi did huge work, having studied biographies and dates of births about 6000 politicians and 17000 scientists. He wanted to find out whether really politicians and scientists are born under certain signs more often. Check showed that time of the birth of people from both groups is distributed on zodiac signs absolutely incidentally - both scientists, and politicians with an equal frequency can be born under any sign.

the Parisian statistician Michel Goklen studied data of archives on 41 thousand inhabitants of Europe, including 16 thousand famous actors, athletes, scientists, writers, and also 25 thousand “simple“ people. Goklen took the data on date, time of day and the birthplace of these people which were available in archives and compared provisions of planets and constellations at the time of the birth of the person with type of his personality (character) and an occupation. A conclusion was unambiguous: horoscopes were false. No communication managed to find between character and a kind of activity of the person, on the one hand, and astrological parameters - with another.

One more quality check of an astrological prediction of characters of people depending on dates of their birth was organized by the psychologist J. Mack - GRU from Chicago. He addressed to Federation of astrologers of the State of Indiana, and six skilled astrologers agreed to take part in check. At the request of Mack - GRU 23 volunteers filled in questionnaires, having in writing answered questions of the work, the character etc. Astrologers were told only a birth date and birth place of volunteers.

Results turned out discouraging. In - the first, all six astrologers absolutely different characteristics on the same volunteers wrote . In - the second, these characteristics corresponded a little to what volunteers wrote about themselves...

Similar experiment was made by the physicist Sean Carlson. Volunteers were examined by the qualified psychologists who made descriptions of their characters. After that 28 astrologers received all horoscopes and to each of them - on three descriptions of character. It was offered to astrologers to guess what of three descriptions concerns the person with this horoscope. Only 34% of descriptions, that is exactly one third were correctly guessed. What quite keeps within casual guessing.

Here even to the grandma (or to the astrologer) should not go to expect: now under a note the set of identical comments on “I do not know how it works there, but at me all horoscopes come true precisely and all descriptions me suit me!“

A will appear here we approach very interesting phenomenon which is called “Barnum`s Effect“.

Barnum`s Effect

So why so many astrological characteristics “suit“ experimental?

At the end of 50 - x classical research was conducted by the American psychologist Ross Stagner. It allowed to fill in to 68 personnel officers of various firms the psychological questionnaire which allows to make the detailed psychological description of the personality, and after that made one general false characteristic, having used 13 phrases from popular horoscopes. Then Stagner asked examinees to read these characteristics, having told everyone that they are developed on the basis of data of a psychological test. Each participant of experience had to note after each phrase, how, in his opinion, it is right and how truly reflects its character. More than a third of examinees considered that their psychological portraits are outlined amazingly truly, 40% - are quite faithful, and almost nobody considered the characteristic absolutely wrong.

There is a similar description which Bertram Forer gave to students (to Bertram R. Forer): “You very much need that other people loved and admired you. You are quite self-critical. You have many hidden opportunities which you did not use to yourself for the good. Though you have some personal weaknesses, you are generally capable to level them. Disciplined and assured in appearance, actually you are inclined to worry and feel uncertainty. From time to time you cover serious doubts whether you made the correct decision or whether made the correct act. You prefer some variety, a framework and restrictions causes you discontent. Also you are proud of what you think independently of; you do not take someone else`s statements on trust without sufficient proofs. You understood that to be too frank with other people - not too wisely. Sometimes you are ekstravertna, are friendly and sociable, sometimes - introvertna, are careful and reserved. Some of your aspirations are quite not realistic. One of your main vital goals - stability.“ it too all examinees considered

very correct and suitable, and all - though were they, of course, absolutely different people.

Barnum`s effect can be formulated so: the person is inclined to take personally the general, indistinct, banal statements if say to him that they are received as a result of studying of some mysterious factors of his personality.

The effect is called by name popular in the 19th century. the American farcical impresario, the most interesting person Phineas Taylor Barnum who possesses words: “Every minute on Earth the ninny is born, and to any of them at me is what to offer“ .