One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The tendency to accept certain information as true, such as character assessments or horoscopes, even when the information is so vague as to be worthless.
- ‘It also cuts out the ‘Barnum effect’ of performers fishing for information.’
- ‘The technique appears to have parallels to the Barnum effect used by some mediums, clairvoyants, and tarot card readers.’
- ‘Much of the seeming ‘accuracy ‘of such checklists could stem from ‘P.T. Barnum effects ‘.’
- ‘Behavioural genetics is such smashing science, it does not need to use anything that could look like a Barnum effect.’
- ‘CSICOP's Joe Nickell appeared on the show to discuss techniques of cold reading and the Barnum effect.’
Named after P. T. Barnum (see Barnum, P. T); the word Barnum was in use from the mid 19th century as a noun in the sense ‘nonsense, humbug’.
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