Who writes horoscopes to newspapers
Barnum Effect: That is why horoscopes always seem to fit
The Barnum Effect is often considered to be the cause of the success of newspaper horoscopes. It describes the phenomenon that people relate general statements to their personal situation and therefore tend to believe astrological predictions.
"Something for everyone": The Barnum Effect
Most people have probably already experienced the Barnum Effect. Also known as the Forer effect, this phenomenon means that people relate general statements to themselves and therefore believe that they are being accurately described themselves. For this reason, the predictions and claims of the horoscopes in magazines are often correct, even if the texts often have little to do with astrology.
The term goes back to the American circus pioneer P. T. Barnum, who was traveling with a colorful circus in the 19th century. Barnum wanted something for every viewer and was very successful with his concept. Newspaper horoscopes work very similarly: With general statements for each zodiac sign such as "You are facing a challenge" or "You will soon take advantage of new opportunities in your job" there is something for almost every reader that can be applied to their current life situation.
Forer effect as a pioneer
Until the 1950s, the Barnum effect was still known as the Forer effect after the psychology professor Bertram Forer. Forer had shown with a fictitious personality test in a study with students that they found the individual statements about their nature to be very accurate. Forer had given all participants the same text and worked with general statements. Astrology in magazines often works on a similar principle: The authors of the horoscopes use clever formulations to ensure that as many people as possible can find themselves in the statements. So if you constantly feel confirmed by your horoscope, it is probably because basic human needs are echoed in the predictions.
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