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The Barnum Effect
Transcript of The Barnum Effect
come from? P. T. Barnum - the showman who declared "There's a sucker born every minute" (Cohen & Swerdlik 2010) What does the Barnum Effect
actually measure? The rationality of the test-taker (Layne, 1979) What did P.T. Barnum
attempt to measure? Data Reports On a 10 point scale, 5 people rated the accuracy of the Barnum descriptions of their personality: A high rating of accuracy in the feedback presented to oneself
The same results to a personality
test are given to multiple people
with various personalities.
Each of them feel that the feedback is an accurate representation of themselves. P. T. Barnum attempted to measure the gullibility of people by giving them results to personality tests that apply to everyone. Examples: You have a great need for
other people to like and
admire you. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not
turned to your advantage. At times you are extroverted,
sociable, while at other times you
are introverted, wary, reserved. Why? "The Barnum Effect consists of people rating accurate descriptions of themselves! Barnum descriptions are highly accurate, trivial, favorable descriptions of all normal people... Such as... "You enjoy being happy." Mean Median Mode 8.4 9 9 Example: (Layne 1979) Layne, C. (1979). The Barnum Effect: Rationality Versus Gullibility?. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
1979, 47.1, (219-221). Retrieved from: PsycNET Cohen, R. J. & Swerdlick, M. E. (2010). Psychological testing & assessment: An introduction to tests & measurement. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.