占いの予言が「的中する」とき [in Japanese] When prophecy in fortune telling "comes true" [in Japanese]
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It has been said that the reason why fortune telling in popular magazines (for women) is seen to "come true" derives from the authoritarian personality of the reader combined with the Barnum effect given by the text. However, past research had focused mostly on fortune telling of a personal character, and very few studies have been carried out which investigate matters of luck or fortune itself. The aim of this research is to investigate how people come to believe that a particular instance of fortune telling has actually "come true", focusing on the use of a "determination view of fate" as a descriptive style of text, and paying attention to both the presentation of material and the reader's cognition process, in four different studies. The "determination view of fate" is described as not varying no matter how readers act; it is something that readers accept as a set of values. For the purposes of this research, using the fortune telling descriptions in women's magazines, a line was drawn between cases in which the reader actually judged the contents as "likely to come true" (predictions) and those that actually "come true"(results), and the contents were analyzed. Consequently, among those who believed the prophecy at the stage of prediction and later judged it to have "come true, " certain structures of a self-fulfilling nature were seen to be held in common. In the light of the contents of the text, both negative and other contents described as nonvariable "fortune" contents were judged to have "come true." Although it can be concluded that, based on such results, fortune telling was recognized as actually dealing in "fortune, " it is conjectured that it evokes in the reader a feeling of hitting the mark through a revelation of fate. The reason why negative contents "come true" is discussed from the viewpoints of memory and content evaluation. The study indicates that those who believe in fortune telling do not do so because of authoritarianism, but rather because of flexible interpretation.
- Japanese Journal of Social Psychology
Japanese Journal of Social Psychology 21(2), 133-146, 2005
The Japanese Society of Social Psychology