We have all been deceived once in our lives by some of the things we hear, read, or even saw. The internet is a very powerful platform that can be both used to educate and gain knowledge about almost everything. However, there are still lots of things that can be considered as vague, unreal or not supported by facts or science but it still catches our vibes.
Just like horoscope, palm reading, numerology, and other false personality tests on the internet – those that cannot be supported by science. Those things are to be considered as pseudoscience – beliefs or any practices that are commonly mistaken as science or being mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific methods. They catch the vibes of some people and create false reassurance and impressions about certain matters by merely using terms of science.
Pseudoscience could be found almost everywhere – TV commercials about certain products that promise positive results, fake personality tests/quizzes and horoscopes on your Facebook feed, emails or a friend of yours who claims that he/she can read your mind and predict your future by simply looking at your palm or face, and even false-prophets and prophecies.
A lot of people are actually aware of those things, especially online like they share their horoscopes or take those personality quizzes or anything that tells about their future, but they know that it’s just for fun and they don’t take it seriously. However, for some people, they use it as their guide while some are using it to justify their actions and behavior.
But why do some people still believe in pseudoscience?
We tend to believe and share those things because they tell something about us. Usually something positive or something that justifies our own behavior. Since we live in an era where there are full of uncertainties and negativities everywhere, who wouldn’t want to share or know something positive about him/herself? Who wouldn’t want to escape this situation and know about his/her future?
Pseudoscience like horoscopes and those memes or quote you share and/or read online that says, “Psychology says…” offers a lot of positive or desirable things like an answer to a certain question that cannot be answered by anyone, promises about your future, a solution to a current problem, and many more. In other words, pseudoscience gives promises to guide people to understand their lives better.
Imagine finding a specific answer on how to improve some aspects in your life (family, love life, and even finances) – I mean, who wouldn’t’ want that?
Just like the famous advice we hear most of the time, we should “think before we click” – we have to be discerning with what we believe and share not just online but in general. Just don’t put your life into it because like those horoscopes and those “Psychology says” quotes, we tend to believe in whatever they say. But in reality, those things are actually applicable to all.
Take this for example/experiment, try to read/present a horoscope to one of your friends. But make sure that the zodiac sign that you are going to present to your friend is not his/her real zodiac sign. Try to look at his/her reaction. There’s a chance that that person will accept whatever it says about him/her even though you presented a different horoscope. In the field of psychology, we call that “Barnum effect’ – this refers to the gullibility of people when reading or hearing descriptions of themselves. We tend to accept and apply it specifically to ourselves. But in reality, those descriptions or statements can be applied to anyone.
In addition, pseudoscience is sometimes falsely associated with psychology. A lot of people especially those who have a background in psychology (psychologists, psychometricians, and students majoring in psychology) are once a victim of this:
“(…) sige nga, basahin mo ang laman ng isip ko.”
“can you read or tell my future?”
“sabihin mo anong nakikita mo sa akin?”
Psychology is way too different from pseudoscience, particularly pseudo-psychology. Psychology is a science because it follows the empirical method – built on painstaking principles or facets such as research, evidence, and testable ideas. Meaning to say, psychology is scientific while pseudoscience is not. Pseudoscience and pseudo-psychology lack supporting evidence or plausibility which otherwise lack scientific status.
It could be served as a form of entertainment, or if not, maybe as a “guide” or you may opt to accept only those positive thoughts or feedback because you know sometimes, those can be fulfilling and personally can be a satisfying experience. But always remember that those are not scientific and it lacks supporting evidence. Also, if you know someone who has a major in psychology or has a background in psychology, avoid asking him/her to read your mind because we are not and we can never read your minds by simply looking at you (literally).
But if you really want to have an immediate answer to your questions about your personality or your behavior like, “Hulaan mo nga ako, anong meron sa akin/pagkatao ko?”, go ask your closest friends and your family, they know you better than anyone else. Yes, their feedbacks might help you in knowing yourself more.
And before we go and consult a numerologist or a palm reader to answer questions about our future success, try to ask ourselves first about our present actions and behaviors.
Disclaimer: Pseudoscience, particularly pseudo-psychology is a broad and controversial topic. This article only gives brief information about pseudoscience and psychology, and obviously it doesn’t cover everything. The author used some terms that might seem to be jargon to some readers. Hence, the author encourages the readers to have further readings related to this article for a wider knowledge and for a better understanding of the topic.
Moreover, the article aims to give additional information and not to encourage people to stop “believing,” using, or sharing those things because that would be disrespectful for those people who work under the field of pseudoscience. Again, it’s fine as long as your life is not solely dependent on it and it doesn’t hurt you and others.