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Research Paper: An Exploration of the Relation between Political Inclination & the Barnum Effect

Ishan Kashyap Hazarika, Sourabh Rai, Tenzing Wangchuk Bhutia, B.A. (Hon.) Economics, 2021


The political inclination of an individual on the Left-Right scale and the susceptibility to the Barnum-Forer effect (used to explain belief in astrology and other vague personality assessments) share a multitude of covariates in addition to the previous finding that conservatism and belief in astrology have a strong positive correlation. The current study tested if the Barnum-Forer effect has an association with political inclination as the logical successor to the previous studies using primary experimental data. The study finds that there is no relation between the Barnum-Forer effect and political inclination using two log-log form linear regressions. The study also finds that people on average tend to provide a higher accuracy rating to a Barnum personality report than the mean of their scores for each individual statement in the report. This tendency too has been found to have no relation with political inclination. Thus, the belief of conservatives in astrology compared to that of the liberals cannot be explained on the basis of the Barnum-Forer effect contrary to what earlier research suggests.

Keywords: Barnum-Forer Effect; Political Inclination; Cognitive Bias; Measurements of Political Tendencies; Experimental Social Science


An Exploration of the Relation between Political Inclination and the Barnum Effect
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Note that this is a pre-print. The paper is currently under advance stages of the peer- review process.

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