Technique: series of 12 digital prints on canvas
A series of 12 self-portraits with statements supposedly revealing my personality.
The statements are borrowed from psychologist Bertram R. Forer. In 1948 he gave a personality test to his students. Afterwards, he told his students they were each receiving a unique personality analysis that was based on the test’s results and to rate their analysis on a scale of 0 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) on how well it applied to themselves. In reality, each received the same analysis. On average, the rating was 4.26, but only after the ratings were turned in was it revealed that each student had received identical copies assembled by Forer from various horoscopes.
The Forer Effect (also called the Barnum Effect after P. T. Barnum’s observation that “we’ve got something for everyone”) is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that are supposedly tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people.
I have changed the form of the text from a psychological assessment to a series of personal statements and thus transformed the subject from a passive answer-seeker to an active self-presenter with whom everyone can easily identify. The background image of mushroom classification is used as a reference of the human need to be unique and to belong to a certain social system simultaneously. By seeking psychological assessments, filling personality tests and reading horoscopes we strive for a better understanding of ourselves and we hope that we will get to know who we are better if somebody else is describing our characteristics to us.