The explanations of personality and character from pseudoscience lack validity and rigor, but despite this, it can be said that we trust this kind of assessment. The Forer effect seeks to show how people fall prey to astrologers, fortune tellers, and other experts in the mysteries of the human soul. Forer Effect
In 1948, psychologist Bertram Forer conducted an experiment to demonstrate the mental mechanisms that lead us to believe pseudoscientific explanations of personality.
This American psychologist took a personality test on several psychology students . All of them received the same evaluation about their way of being, and this circumstance was revealed to them at the end of the experiment.
In the diagnosis presented, they were told things like “sometimes you feel especially insecure”, “on certain occasions you want to distance yourself from others”, “you don’t always understand your way of being”, “you need to be admired”, etc. Forer Effect
This type of result was accepted by all participants, as they felt identified with it.
To prepare the questionnaire, Bertram Forer compiled a series of statements from the magazine horoscopes.
The essences of the Forer effect
Based on our subjective assessment, we tend to give general explanations as valid and we identify with them for several reasons:
1) we fit the diagnosis to be based on vague statements that are valid for any person ,
2) we trust the authority of the person making the diagnosis, as well as the information source,
3) we satisfactorily value information as long as it has a positive meaning. Forer Effect
In short , we convince ourselves of a series of statements because they are prepared to fall into the trap.
It is applied to the set of pseudoscientific explanations
Although science is the highest knowledge available to human beings, many people feel a strong attraction to doctrines that are far removed from scientific criteria. They believe in mysterious forces that rule the world, in the influence of the stars on our lives and in all kinds of proposals that talk about invisible energies that move the threads of our existence.
All these explanations are very attractive, but they lack foundation, in fact, they are not accepted by the scientific community .
According to psychology, pseudoscientific discourses seem convincing to us because we incorporate some kind of cognitive prejudice , that is, it is our own criteria based on some form of prejudice that end up favoring self-deception.