Our Research Director, Laurie Pollock, brings us this insight into how we really see ourselves. It sure works for astrologers – marketers please note.
In 1948, psychologist Bertram R. Forer gave a personality test to his students, and then gave them an analysis supposedly based on the test’s results. He invited each of them to rate the accuracy of 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:
“You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the 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 also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. But 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, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.”
Forer had assembled this text from horoscopes.
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