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The (Forer)- Barnum Effect

Before I start talking about the Barnum effect, let me tell you that I know a lot about you. Allow me to talk about you!

– You have a great need for other people to like and admire you.

– You have a tendency to be critical of yourself.

– You have a great deal of unused potential, which you have not turned to your advantage.

– While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them.

– Your sexual adjustment has presented problems for you.

– 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 pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof.

– 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, reserved.

–  Security is one of your major goals in life.

–  Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic.

Can you find yourself in the text above? Yes? Well, you’re not the only person in this situation. All those who read the text find themselves to a lesser or greater degree.

This is the Barnum (Forer) effect.

The Forer (or Barnum) effect is a term used in psychology that defines the tendency of people to accept very general or vague characterizations of themselves as being very accurate.

A good example of this can be seen in people who think they are true and exactly match descriptions of those who guess them in coffee, tarot, astrological predictions or other bizarre practices.

“A sucker is born every minute,” said Phineas Taylor Barnum, the discoverer of the circus, and the one after whom this effect was called.

In 1948, psychologist Bertram R. Forer gave a number of 39 students a personality test, then asked them to assess the degree of veracity of the profile described. Students evaluated the accuracy of their own personality profile on a scale of 0 to 5, where 0 was considered a profile that did not correspond to any of their own personalities, and 5 had a perfect correspondence with their own personality. The average of these ratings was 4.2. Then students were asked to raise their hands if the test was considered to be an appropriate and accurate tool in describing their own personality. All students raised their hand, being convinced of the veracity of the instrument. They later found out that they had the same interpretation.

The Barnum effect has some explanations. According to researchers, it seems that, first of all, we like flattering and discourses that value us. Then, often, we do not perceive in an analysis anything other than that which suits us or favors us. Thus, we abstain from elements that do not characterize us, although they are mentioned. The effect also increases when people think they have a particular description made for them, when the description is more favorable than unfavorably, when the description is not specific, and the characteristics and traits mentioned are common in the population from which they were selected as subjects. All these features are met when the horoscope is presented to us. We do not even have to be careful to see which sign is coming. Anyway, all the signs fit us.

The effect of Barnum is a technique that is also the basis of palm reading, predictions, and other forms of past or predictive predictions.

Those who claim to have paranormal powers exploit this technique along with cold reading, a set of techniques by which relevant information is obtained by general assertions, by observing body language and subject’s reactions.

This effect appears to a greater extent in the case of people with a particular need for approval or tendencies of obedience, conformism to authority. Those are people who take things as they are, because they can not do anything anyway, things are predestined to be so. The truth is, no matter how unique we are, we have the same quests, the same dilemmas and the same cognitive viruses.

In order not to let this effect deceive us, I think it is important to keep in mind Forer’s words:

“Thus, the individual is a unique configuration of characteristics, each of which can be found in everyone, but in varying degrees.”

Nothing is infinite in us…

A portion of disillusion lives in each of us, in every man or woman we love, in every relationship we are involved in or that we wanted. But there is also a dose of hope, effort, and love. The truth is that everything we are and everything that surrounds us is well-dosed. None of us is ready to love and lose oneself entirely, as no one can forget until his/her last memory or provide everything. Things happen dosed, gradually, they undergo a rigorous frame time. Today we try to build and tomorrow we destroy.
Today we can love someone and tomorrow we consider him/her our enemy.
Today we are ourselves and tomorrow someone else, because nothing is infinite in us.
Beyond emotions, beyond love and even beyond the loved ones, there are limits. Some limits we set up ourselves and some we experiment with involuntary.
But the ultimate truth is: It does not matter for whom we have set up these limits. It only matters for whom we are willing to overtake them.

Looking for lost butterflies…

When the love we felt at first disappears from our lives, what do we have left with? To live a good life with your partner! It’s going to be crazy (the life), but not too often, or at least I’d prefer. Because you have not moved to the bedlam and at the same time, you can not believe that you are at the party all the time. You can not believe that you will live happily with him or her every day. Actually, you can, but it will not be good for you.
Boredom is part of our lives. Is it not like that? Do you feel worried about this? Boredom in a relationship, boredom in two, is one of the most desirable experiences. It is probably, the signal that you have overcome the struggles for domination. From here your good life together can begin.
Good living in two starts without us. How does this work? Very simple, the care for our relationship must be above our Ego, taken separately per head.
The relationship we have with someone can be, at the choice of each one, above our ego, which almost always seeks preservation or the “status quo”.
One of the keys is forgiveness, or more specifically, to take concrete steps to return with your partner to a state of balance, a state of stability. I do not know if you believe me or not, but a good life in two does not mean emotional and verbal excesses. It means having a balance, and this is also true for couples with high volatility
I think love begins with acceptance. At least with tolerance. Everyone can love only with his own measure. Otherwise, we speak in terms of domination and control.
With the acceptance of what it is, as it is, genuine love actually starts. We notice differences between us. We do not have to pretend we do not see them in the name of a dream-like harmony. But let’s not start personal wars in the name of selfish justice. Let’s look at them (at these small or big differences) and clarify them. We talk about them and then we go together to concessions. I give up a little, you the same and maybe we can understand. Or maybe not. How can we live with this? Together or separate!
These are the crossroads of our lives! And yes,… it hurts us usually!

54 ways…?! :)

According to a site, there are 54 ways you can become happier. You can choose and try any of them. I have a book with hundreds of ways for happiness. Honestly (and insensible) I find it almost useless.
It seems amazing to me how people are looking for happiness (going to workshops and conferences and paying big amounts of money, but also efforts and time), despite some knowledge (scientifically validated) that warns us of the futility of this quest.
Many don´t want to know that a garbage collector from Calcutta (a city in the West Bengal, close to the Bangladesh border) might be happier than an IBM CEO, proud owner, of Range Rover, a personal assistant (milky and sprint), villa owner and a holiday home in the most luxurious places …
The garbage collector and CEO, or senator and butcher, can be both happy on the same level because happiness is not what most people think it is. On the contrary, it requires effort, dedication, and commitment.
How many of us are willing to do this? It involves frustration, it has nothing to do with today’s happiness or the immediate satisfaction of wishes, it requires regular efforts aimed at goals, concentration, and patience, plus an expanded perspective in the future. As I think I said once before, it is also called  eudaimonic well-being (from daimon – true nature).
Daimon refers to potentialities of each person, realisation of which leads to the greatest fulfilment. Efforts to live in accordance with one’s daimon, the congruence between this and people’s life activities, lead to the experience of eudaemonia…
And what if your true nature is calling you to violence? ( it can happen to anyone).  Well about this topic, and other kinds of more hedonistic happiness on another occasion. 🙂

Until then, if you see Aristotle, please send him, my greetings! 🙂


Envy… A common feeling…

We all feel envy. It’s a spontaneous thought. Envy is an absolutely normal feeling that occurs when, involuntarily or not, we relate ourselves to others and find that they have something we lack.
To be envious is basically to react to the discovery of your disadvantage, to someone who looks like you, but apparently unfavorable, it benefits from superior qualities or circumstances.
The woman is genetically envious. Ethology, the science of animal and human behavior, have shown that human envy is a consequence of competition for primary needs: food, water, air, and reproduction, including sexuality. Any object of our envy is included in the desire, to be advantageous.
Feminine envy, in the historical past of the primitive man, had even the role of the physical elimination of opponents who were targeting a strong man, so capable of giving birth to surviving children in great conditions. Envy it is, therefore, extremely intense, having an inherited base, and is particularly aggressive against women who seem to pose a threat through superiority or the advantage of circumstances.
The woman of today is genetically as envious as the woman from 2,000 to 3,000 years ago, and envy is the feeling that pushes her into a competition, usually against other women. Women gossip and men hit. Unlike men, envy, it causes women to hit the competitor’s image. The most frequent phenomena are rumor and intrigue, as premeditated attitudes of defamation of the envious one, engages affective involvement and even strategies of the annihilation of ” The Ingrate” ! 😤
Ladies, calm down!  emotional instability transform any woman into a “drama queen”! ))

Being free…

Being free is a very important ingredient of happiness. Free yourself from self-condemning accusations, hypocritical moral values, unsolvable regrets, and mediocre relationships.
You can not be happy if your actions are not congruent with what you think. Be more authentic, even if it means less “moral”.
And do not forget, happiness is a top experience of your existence, but it is a temporary state. Do not be addicted to its continuity!
( Photo- wild horses on the Danube Delta, in Romania, maybe the last in Europe)

smile and the world will smile with you …:)

“Too many people spend money they have not earned to buy things they do not want, to impress people they do not like.”
Will Rogers
Nothing truer, because the most beautiful things are not associated with money, are the memories and beautiful moments associated with loved ones, with friends, with people you have met willingly or randomly and they surprised you, like no one else has ever done! Choose to be happy, and be!
Free will is built with every choice, with every sustained decision that will determine your evolution.
Surprise yourself! The only real routine is the routine of being yourself! This is the only real, exasperating, routine. The rest are just excuses! Real boredom is, to get bored of yourself!
Happiness is not the consequence of gaining something that we do not have, but it is a recognition and appreciation of what we have.
In a way, happiness is a form of courage – the courage to get out of the social flock impressed by dissatisfaction and to spread smiles and enthusiasm. We are all in the same story, but some of us are staring at the stars. 🙂