Month of January 2019
Book of the Week
Barnum Effect: Summary - The ‘Barnum effect’ is a psychological phenomenon where an individual will believe generic statements to be an accurate personal description of themselves, especially when they are flattering. Consequently, the descriptions are vague and generally apply to everyone. Therefore, people will interpret their own meaning from vague statements to make it personal to them. Often times the Barnum effect can be used as a con technique. The Barnum effect was given its name in 1956 by psychologist Paul Meehl and it is also known as the “Forer effect.”
Placebo Effect: Summary - The ‘placebo effect’ is a treatment or part of a treatment that is not expected to produce an effect and has no ‘active’ content. Placebos affect a person’s perception about a treatment but have no actual effect. Often times sugar pills or saline solutions are used in medicine as placebos. There is no therapeutic value to placebos in medicine. However, when studying new medical treatments, the placebo effect must first be ruled out through double-blind clinical trials to ensure the validity of the treatment.
Theory of Mind: Summary - ‘Theory of mind’ is the ability for people to understand their own and others’ mental states; this includes beliefs, thoughts, emotions and desires. Also, theory of mind (ToM) allows people to understand how the perspectives of others differ from their own. As humans, theory of mind is developed at a young age. Children under 3 years old do not yet have this ability in mental functioning until they are 4 and over. An important finding is that deficits may occur in people with schizophrenia, autism, cocaine addiction, and brain damage from alcohol toxicity.
Déjà Vu: Summary - The phenomenon known as ‘déjà vu’ is French for ‘already seen’. When something is experienced for the first time, it is thought to have been previously experienced before. There are many different types of déjà vu which include déjà vécu (already lived), déjà éprouvé (already experienced or tested), déjà voulu (already desired), déjà pensé (already thought), déjà entendu (already heard), déjà fait (already done), and déjà raconté (already told or recounted).
Golem Effect: Summary - In this psychological phenomenon, if an individual is attributed with lower expectations by either themselves or a supervisor, the individual will have a decreased level of performance. This effect was named after the legend of a golem in Jewish mythology by Alisha Babad, Jacinto Inbar and Robert Rosenthal in 1982. Similarities exist between the golem effect and the Pygmalion effect, both of which are examples of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The golem effect focuses on the negative side of a self-fulfilling prophecy. As suggested by Oranit Davidson and Dov Eden, there are two types of golem effects: absolute and relative.
Word of the Day