Mini-lesson: Can horoscopes predict personality?

Learning objectives: Students will think critically about pseudoscientific tests of personality and describe why often they appear to be accurate.

In this activity, students are asked to read their “horoscope” provided in these slides: ToP_MINI_LESSON_HOROSCOPES and assess whether they believe it describes them well.  Most students will think that it does – but these are not “real horoscopes” they have been doctored – none appear under the correct sign.  However, all are general, ambiguous, and generally flattering.  Students are asked to look critically at all of the the horoscopes to identify what they have in common and to use the terms: Barnum Effect, Self-serving Bias, and Fallacy of the positive instance when discussing why they were so easily persuaded that these were accurate.

 

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