What is your horoscope reading?

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Something that I found especially interesting from Chapter 14 was the concept of the P.T. Barnum effect, which is defined as the tendency of people to accept high base rate descriptions (descriptions that apply to almost everyone) as accurate. The P.T. Barnum effect demonstrates that personal validation is a flawed method of evaluating a test's validity. Astrological horoscopes, palmistry, and crystal ball, tea leaf, and tarot card readings all fall victim to the P.T. Barnum effect. There is no evidence for the validity of any of these methods, and yet they are still extremely popular for predicting one's emotions, future, etc.
I had never fully trusted the validity of horoscope readings prior to reading this chapter, however they have always been incredibly popular with my friends throughout high school and college. For this post, I decided to look into my horoscope reading, along with the readings of the other astrological signs to see if they could fit me in any kind of way. My reading for today stated that today marks the beginning of a new phase for my life, and that my outlook is improving. Although this did seem like an accurate reading for myself, I had no doubt that it would be accurate for many others as well. I also found that the readings for the other eleven astrological signs fit me to a T, which confirms the P.T. Barnum effect. From this, we can conclude that the P.T. Barnum effect is present in horoscope readings and other similar methods, but this does not mean that we cannot still have fun with these kinds of tests!

http://shine.yahoo.com/astrology


fortuneteller.jpg

3 Comments

I completely agree with this post! As fun as they can be, horoscopes are so broad and general that there is no way they are scientifically accurate. I followed your link and read my horoscope for today. It said that I should pay back an act of kindness from a stranger. This is nice, but an act of kindness could be interpreted as someone who opened a door for me five minutes ago, or someone who gave me a ride home last weekend. And like the post said, how many people have not experienced this an act of kindness recently? Finally, sometimes horoscopes are so vague that if they are about a friend or potential romantic partner, I am left wondering which person the horoscope could be about because there are several people that come to mind.

As much as the validity of these test are very low, I also like to look at them every once in while. However, I think it would be more beneficial and effective for these tests to give advice than merely your fortune or future. Something like "today will be a good day for you, so say something kind to someone today" or "this is going to be a rough week, so make sure to study hard." These sorts of things I think would be more helpful.

Every person is different, the key is to know your exact date, place and TIME of birth for an accurate reading.
When reading a birth chart I only use the house system if the time of birth is correct.

Nice write up.
Regards and best wishes.
Neil Ormsby

http://www.neilormsby.com

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This page contains a single entry by kiell002 published on April 21, 2012 12:28 PM.

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