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!