Definition of Barnum effect in English:

Share this entry

Barnum effect

noun

Psychology
The tendency to accept as true types of information such as character assessments or horoscopes, even when the information is so vague as to be worthless.
Example sentences
  • Much of the seeming ‘accuracy ‘of such checklists could stem from ‘P.T. Barnum effects ‘.
  • It also cuts out the ‘Barnum effect’ of performers fishing for information.
  • The technique appears to have parallels to the Barnum effect used by some mediums, clairvoyants, and tarot card readers.

Origin

Named after P. T. Barnum (see Barnum, P. T.); the word Barnum was in use from the mid 19th century as a noun in the sense 'nonsense, humbug'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Bar¦num ef¦fect

Share this entry
 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.