Via Andrew Sullivan, here’s an interesting piece on why people fall for horoscopes. The need to find patterns (and thus ‘meaning’) is nothing new, but I was intrigued by this:
The tendency to believe vague statements designed to appeal to just about anyone is called the Forer Effect, and psychologists point to this phenomenon to explain why people fall for pseudoscience like biorhythms, iridology and phrenology or mysticism like astrology, numerology and tarot cards. The Forer Effect is part of larger phenomenon psychologists refer to as subjective validation, which is a fancy way of saying you are far more vulnerable to suggestion when the subject of the conversation is you…Those who claim the powers of divination hijack these natural human tendencies. They know they can depend on you to use subjective validation in the moment and confirmation bias afterward. They expect you will see yourself in a mirror of a thousand faces, and then later on you see only the things which validate that reflection.
The natural human tendencies to seek order in chaos and believe in generalities both get enhanced when the information supposedly pertains to you, when it is personal.
Read the whole thing.
also, see spotlight effect
Can anyone explain why it’s principally women who fall for this crap, for any reason other than ‘Lawrence Summers was right’?
Certainly the horoscope fare published daily by news outlets consist of superfluous, generic, and mindless effulgences that can be applied to anyone; however, I wonder if the blog author holds the same opinion with regard to in-depth astrological chart analyses which are achieved by using not only the subject’s birthdate, but the exact time of day/night and global location of one’s birth.
Those are, necessarily, a bit more subjective and there are sometimes too many coincidences to be coincidences.
Perhaps a more formidable strain of the Forer Effect……….no?………..(grin)
Lastly, the human body is mostly water. If the moon exerts influence on ocean tides—and it does—then the position of the stars and celestial patterns at the time of birth might conceivably exert a degree of influence on the chemistry of the body and give one potential toward various traits.
Then again, it’s all rather like a new lover.
You assign attributes so often at odds with reality……..
……..because you want them to be true.
I just call it the sucker gene.
Why horoscopes? Because haruspicy is so messy.
“Lastly, the human body is mostly water. If the moon exerts influence on ocean tides—and it does—then the position of the stars and celestial patterns at the time of birth might conceivably exert a degree of influence on the chemistry of the body and give one potential toward various traits.”
Please tell me that’s an ingenious troll, and that you’re not actually that ignorant.
Also, I think you dropped this: “o”
TO “Apathy Curve”–
Please tell me that you can put two words together in disagreement without coming off as a disgruntled loon.
My point is one that can be applied to various phenomena.
“Troll” went out of vogue as a lame debating tool way back before the NYTimes began charging for online access……then thought better of it and changed back to the freebie status once again.
Try to pull your head from inside your sphincter muscle and chill.
I was playing devil’s advocate as well as employing humor just to illustrate that no one knows anything with any certainty.
If you are someone who does……then you must like what you get.
Lastly, my name isn’t spelled with an “O”.
Try to work with reality.
I think that most people visiting this site have the belief that the world and how it works (and indeed the entire universe) is rationally explainable through science. Or atleast has scientific rational explanations that we don’t fully understand yet.
I don’t think however that most people think like this. Believers in horoscopes simply don’t require that something have a rational scientific explanation in order to believe in its truth. Most people believe that there are things out there which are beyond our understanding and will forever defy our attempts to do so (ghosts, religion, horoscopes, bad energy fields etc).
With horoscopes there is also the confirmation bias effect that we only remember when the predictions come true and forget all the times when they don’t (and even that’s assuming the horoscope prediction is specific enough to even be tested).
Yup, a troll she is.
And, by the looks of her photos on her blog, a troll who stopped celebrating birthdays when she turned twenty-five, about a quarter of a century ago or so.
What a glorious compliment, “cc”.
Since some were taken this past holiday and others a few weeks ago, your splenetic envy surfaces as all the more delicious.
Very bizarre person you must be to wallow in such trivia.
And yes, most people have photos of their lives, if they actually have a life. LOL!
But tell us, are you always left with such irrelevant debating tools and commentary…….as you cowardly hide behind little pseudonymous e.e. cummings-esque monikers?
“Yup, a troll she is.
And, by the looks of her photos on her blog, a troll who stopped celebrating birthdays when she turned twenty-five, about a quarter of a century ago or so.”