The Forer Effect

Having just finished reading The Paradox of Choice, and then reading through Ruth Ellison’s presentation at Bar Camp Canberra 2010 (where she quotes the framing question from Paradox of Choice), I found this summary of something called the Forer effect to be another example of our poor ability to read the evidence that informs our decisions.

For some reason, it reminds me of Henry Rollins’ song Liar.

I’m not convinced, though, that these tendencies represent a slam-dunk for a skeptic to disprove religion: does anyone care to chip in on that?

One thought on “The Forer Effect”

  1. Interesting article. No, I don’t think it’s a disproval of religion at all – because it’s talking about people’s acceptance of descriptions that revolve around themselves, not information about a religion. However, there is a point to be made that if religion offers people some way to view themselves in a glowing way (ie a self-esteem fuzzy glow packaged as Christianity), then people could be drawn into the religion based on how it improves their perception of themselves.

    But it actually ties in rather well with Christianity, where the Bible tells us that people delude themselves about themselves and like to rate themselves as better than they actually are. So rather than accept a faith which points us out as being imperfect, we’d rather read a horoscope that strokes our ego.

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