Forer’s got something for you

Most of the times if you take glance at your Facebook home page, chances are you’ll be seeing “[friend name here] took the [random quiz subject] quiz.” Maybe you’ve done some of them too. But when the results hit your screen, did you believe what they proudly say as “You are [some random stuffs under the quiz theme]!” and felt like the test had really described your distinct personality?

Psychologist Bertram R. Forer, once upon a day in 1948, had his student took a personality test he created and asked them to rate whether the analysis really describes their personality or not. He got the overall rating of 4.26, which means it somehow magically describes their personality well.

One thing he did unmask to the students only after they had taken the test: they all got 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.

The experiment showed us that, when people are given vague analysis that could practically describes anyone’s personality, they will still believe that the result did “really describe them well”. This effect was therefore dubbed as the “Forer effect”.

But well, I still take (and love) detailed and sophisticated personality-determining tests such as this one on Facebook. I’m INTP.

About Kevin Aditya

Thank you for reading.

12. April 2009 by Kevin Aditya
Categories: Psychology | 5 comments

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  1. Pingback: Which type are you? « Monoplane.

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