The online psychs trick: How to win people over quickly

Online psychs and fortune tellers seem to know everything: they give the impression of having known us for a long time. There is a trick behind this, which is also helpful in communication to win over other people.

They don’t simply accept everything unproven, but like to check critically whether what they are told is really true. In addition, you are a person who prefers a certain amount of variety and change and who does not like to be restricted by prohibitions or restrictions. However, there are probably also situations in your life when you wonder whether you have made the right decision.

Do you feel well described by the above statement? Very probably I do. Online psychs (more on like to use statements that apply to almost everyone. They give the impression of knowing a lot about a person, although the opposite is true. The person addressed gets the feeling that the other person has known him or her for a long time. He opens up and it is easy to find out more about their specific motives and needs.

The technique of universal statements

Universal statements are simple statements that have a very characteristic effect on a person – especially in one-to-one conversations. In reality they are very general and often ambiguous, which makes them applicable to any person.

Some universal statements appeal to our wishful thinking. This means that one tells a person only how he would like to be perceived by others. It doesn’t matter whether what you say is true or not. What is important is that the person opposite considers it right and agrees. An example: Almost everyone thinks they are critical. The reality often looks different. We like to be guided by our gut feeling. This is not wrong, but it contradicts the self-perception as a critical person.

Another example: Every person experiences situations in which he is not sure about his decisions. Anyone can interpret a general statement on the subject of uncertainty into a situation that suits them. In his self-perception, the cartomancer has thus apparently named many facts about us, but from the outside, he has said very little.

The psychological effect behind this

The fact that the technique of the universal statement works is due to the Barnum effect. It originates from psychology and says that people accept universal statements about their own personality as an accurate description.

The American psychology professor Bertram Forer from the Veterans Administration Mental Hygiene Clinic in Los Angeles examined this effect in 1948. Under the pretext of conducting a personality test, he had his students fill out a questionnaire. A week later, he gave them the evaluation. The students were then asked to rate on a scale of zero (not at all true) to five (very true) to what extent they found themselves in the evaluation. On average, the students gave 4.26 points, which corresponds to an agreement of about 85 percent. The interesting thing is that each student was presented with the same text word for word – it consisted exclusively of universal statements.