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Modern Psychological Studies

Periodical Title

Modern Psychological Studies

Volume

3

Number

2

Page Numbers

pages 44-51

Department

Dept. of Psychology

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Date

1995

Abstract

The present study examined the relationship between students' level of sophistication and confidence in personality assessment procedures with their susceptibility to the Barnum effect— the tendency for individuals to accept highly generalized, ambiguous profiles as accurate descriptions of their personality. Thirty-five university students (22 females, 13 males, mean age 26) completed a brief personality questionnaire under the impression they would be receiving an interpretation from a) a masters level clinician, b) a clinical psychologist (PhD), or c) a form of computer assessment. A pretest asking for the subject's age, sophistication, and their perceptions of the three assessment sources accompanied the questionnaire. Subjects received one of two profiles categorized by moderate or high favorability and were asked to rate both the accuracy and degree to which the profile described their unique personality. While neither the main effects for feedback source or favorability proved significant, multiple regression analyses found subjects' sophistication and initial confidence in the personality assessment procedures to be effective predictors of their accuracy and uniqueness ratings. The results suggest that cognitive variables can mediate susceptibility to the Barnum effect.

Subject

Psychology--Periodicals

Discipline

Psychology

Document Type

articles

Extent

8 leaves

Language

English

Call Number

BF1 .M63 v. 3 no. 2 1995

Rights

Under copyright.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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