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 supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. This effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some beliefs and practices, such as astrology, fortune telling, and some types of personality tests.
A related and more generic phenomenon effect is that of subjective validation. Subjective validation occurs when two unrelated or even random events are perceived to be related because a belief, expectancy, or hypothesis demands a relationship. Thus people seek a correspondence between their perception of their personality and the contents of a horoscope.
An article quoted on the dish today has a more specific application
The tendency to believe vague statements designed to appeal to just about anyone is called the Forer Effect, and psychologists point to this phenomenon to explain why people fall for pseudoscience like biorhythms, iridology and phrenology or mysticism like astrology, numerology and tarot cards.
The Forer Effect is part of larger phenomenon psychologists refer to as subjective validation, which is a fancy way of saying you are far more vulnerable to suggestion when the subject of the conversation is you.
How does this relate to K impacts? Read on to find out
Many K’s make the judge the subject of the conversation- more important than the enaction by the USFG of the plan is the judge’s personal contributions to systems like capitalism or patriarchy. The Forer effect gives an interesting explanation of why judges often are so receptive to “root cause” arguments that many agree are relatively silly when thought out logically. By making the judge’s personal politics the question of the ballot, K debaters can exploit the “subjective validation” element of the judge’s personality (I can feel the language K coming after that last sentence…).
This line of reasoning probably appeals even more to debaters who view the K as some sort of mysticism or pseudo science that they don’t quite understand.