In fact, Forer's wizard-like deduction skills were so powerful that even though he's dead, he can analyze the shit out of you right now. Yeah, you, the person reading this article. Here's what he has to say about you:
"You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic."
"You also smell bad, but sometimes you don't."
Pretty scary, huh?
In reality, that is the exact same analysis Forer gave to every one of his subjects, compiled from a bunch of random horoscopes. Yeah, at this point it's probably worth mentioning that the alternate name for the Forer effect is the Barnum effect, named after the famous showman P.T. Barnum and specifically the "There's a sucker born every minute" quote (falsely) attributed to him. What Forer was really researching was the gullibility of people when reading descriptions of themselves, and what he found was this: We are so good at providing a coherent picture of what we hear and see that we flat out don't mind if the stuff we're told is vague and inconsistent. We're more than happy to fill in the blanks as long as the information is about us.
"And when he was talking about my insecurities, I knew that he meant my crippling fear of Velociraptors!"
And remember, when you do it, you really have to sell it. Stare hard into their eyes. Furrow your brow, as if deep in thought. Rub your chin, and pause between "revelations" as if you are working through them with your genius brain, drawing subtle clues only you can see. With this knowledge and confident behavior, you can join the ranks of many, many fake psychics and other quacks and give people inaccurate but extremely believable Sherlock scans all the damn time. Just don't quit your day job and embark on a brain war against professor Moriarty. Although, hell, he's probably faking it, too.
J.F. Sargent never wants to see a fucking Rubik's Cube ever again. Follow him on Twitter and read his blog.
For more ways you can just fake it, check out 5 Ways To Hack Your Brain Into Awesomeness. Or discover the 5 Pop Culture Classics Created Out of Laziness.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 4 Amazing Examples of Rock Stars Owning Obnoxious Fans.
And to further expand your noggin, check out Cracked's De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew.
It's loaded with facts about history, your body, and the world around you that your teachers didn't want you to know. And as a bonus? We've also included the kinkiest sex acts ever described in the Bible.