Current Psychology

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 162–178 | Cite as

Accepting personality test feedback: A review of the Barnum effect

  • Adrian Furnham
  • Sandra Schofield
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This article attempts a comprehensive and critical review of the by-now fairly extensive literature on the Barnum effect—the approval/acceptance by subjects of bogus personality interpretations supposedly derived from standard tests. Since the last major review eight years ago various methodological extensions have occurred and various rival hypotheses for established findings have been proposed. The present review is divided into three major sections: client and clinician characteristics; feedback statements and test format; and implications for personality assessment and measurement. Nearly 50 studies on the acceptance of personality interpretations are systematically reviewed and criticized.


Personality Assessment Personality Feedback Current Psychological Research Personality Interpretation Personality Description 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian Furnham
    • 1
  • Sandra Schofield
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.University of BathUK

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