Friday, September 08, 2006

the forer effect or 'into every life a little rain must fall'

You might start to think this has become a Taoist website... I' ve gotten more interested in the I Ching lately. I think there is a certain amount of beauty and order in how the book is put together. And the answers it has been giving are rather... uncanny and useful in their own way. For the most part, I chalk it up to the Forer effect also known more cynically as the Barnum effect. ("There is a sucker born every minute") I also think that as people we are more alike than we realize and so any sufficiently detailed description of the individual human condition will impress us as accurate.

In his original study, Forer gave subjects a personality analysis followed by the following 'result':
"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."

Yeah, you and everyone else in the world... and so on average, Forer's subjects found the above description pretty accurate.

But think about it, even if you are 'one in a million' that means there are 6000 people just like you. I honestly believe that one of the functions of scripture is to remind us that we are not unique. We all exist in a common human condition. That's how scriptures "work". That's how texts written over a thousand years ago in a distant land can still ring true... in spite of the printing press and the internet and indoor plumbing and nuclear power and digital watches, people are still people. But more on that later.


Anonymous said...

As Salaam Alaykum..
Are you knowing about "Planet of arabs" clip? Could you make an article about it?
Blogistanian JasonX

Abdul-Halim V. said...

wa alaikum salaam,

I've heard of the clip and have included a link to it in the past but I didn't write a whole article about it.

Check out:
sleeper cell (part 2)

Anonymous said...

I have read your blog much lately but i did not remember that you have write about that wich I was asking.
JazakAllahu Khayran