Sunday, June 22, 2008

Today's Sermon: Your Personal Hopes & Dreams Revealed

I've thought about you a lot lately, and I've prepared this personality profile for you, and you alone:

You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself.

While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them.

You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage.

Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing.

You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others.

At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved.

Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.

You might disagree with some of my individual statements, but I'll bet not all.

I could also add that you have known these things about yourself for a very long time, but secretly you hope that others are unable to detect your self-doubt.


That stuff I wrote about you comes from psychologist, Bertram R. Forer, in 1948:

Forer gave a personality test to his students, ignored their answers, and gave each student the above evaluation. He asked them to evaluate the evaluation from 0 to 5, with "5" meaning the recipient felt the evaluation was an "excellent" assessment and "4" meaning the assessment was "good." The class average evaluation was 4.26. That was in 1948. The test has been repeated hundreds of time with psychology students and the average is still around 4.2 out of 5, or 84% accurate.

In short, Forer convinced people he could successfully read their character. His accuracy amazed his subjects, though his personality analysis was taken from a newsstand astrology column and was presented to people without regard to their sun sign. The Forer effect seems to explain, in part at least, why so many people think that pseudosciences "work". Astrology, astrotherapy, biorhythms, cartomancy, chiromancy, the enneagram, fortune telling, graphology, rumpology, etc., seem to work because they seem to provide accurate personality analyses. Scientific studies of these pseudosciences demonstrate that they are not valid personality assessment tools, yet each has many satisfied customers who are convinced they are accurate.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Forer Effect, see also The Barnum Effect:

If the statements appear on a personality inventory that one believes has been especially prepared for you alone, one often validates the accuracy of such statements and thereby gives validity to the instrument used to arrive at them. If Barnum statements are validated when they have originated during a psychic reading, the validation is taken as also validating the psychic powers of the medium.

"Barnum effect" is an expression that seems to have originated with psychologist Paul Meehl, in deference to circus man P. T. Barnum's reputation as a master psychological manipulator who is said to have claimed "we have something for everybody."

Thus endeth today's sermon.

Go forth today, knowing that there are those among us who would prey upon your personal self doubts and your oh, so human desires for a healthy, secure future...

Wishful thinking is interpreting facts, reports, events, perceptions, etc., according to what one would like to be the case rather than according to the actual evidence. If it is done intentionally and without regard for the truth, it is called misinterpretation, falsification, dissembling, disingenuous, or perversion of the truth.

Just don't take any wooden nickels.

Think about it.

I mean it, damn it!

Number of days since Donna Brazile promised to leave the party if superdelegates decided the Dem nominee:

Donna has known for a long time now that superdelegates would be necessary for any Dem candidate to win the nomination this year. Ask Donna when she intends to keep her promise.
Don't hold your breath awaiting a reply.

Best bar bet in the world: Delilah didn't do it.
Judges 16:19-- and and


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