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Derren Brown’s Astrology Experiment

December 19, 2008

Derren Brown is an English magician and mentalist who shot to fame after his channel 4 show Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000. Since then he has performed for a wide viewership and in quite a few TV shows and also appeared in Richard Dawkins’ documentary Enemies of Reason.

In this video, Brown gives astrological readings to number of subjects and shows why subjects are convinced about astrological predictions. Astrology seems to work most of the time because it makes generalized statements about our personality, which we then re-interpret to ascribe special meaning about our own lives and personality. These subjective validations in which people find personal meaning in statements that can apply to many people is called Barnum effect or Forer effect (also see these entries for Barnum effect or Forer effect in Scepdic.com) and is widely used by astrologers, mentalists and cold readers to arrive at “predictions” or “insight ” about people’s personalities.

The video has been disabled by youtube so here is the link to the video. [Link]

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Badz permalink
    May 18, 2009 5:16 am

    Unfortunetly the video doesn’t work. It’s not on Youtube either. It has some technical fault or something.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      May 18, 2009 6:28 am

      Thanks for pointing it out Badz. I have added the link. Check out the link now.

      • May 18, 2009 7:05 am

        Unfortunetly, I can’t watch it. It’s not available in my country, so youtube won’t allow it. Maybe some legal reasons. or something. Thanks anyway.

        • nitwitnastik permalink*
          May 18, 2009 9:35 am

          You can try searching for it on google videos using derren brown and astrology. I am sure it is available on websites other than you tube.

  2. June 15, 2009 8:34 am

    This was wodnerful. However, if I show it to “true” believers, they will say that their astrologer/psychic/holy person is accurate

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      June 15, 2009 8:45 am

      Yep that’s true. That’s why astrology is such a difficult leech to get rid of. But show them the video anyway. Enlightenment often comes from doubt and even though we cannot convince them, we can always plant that seed of doubt and hope that they will try to verify the claims themselves.

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