Subjective validation, sometimes called personal validation effect, is a cognitive bias by which a person will consider a statement or another piece of information to be correct if it has any personal meaning or significance to them. In other words, a person whose opinion is affected by subjective validation will perceive two unrelated events (i.e., a coincidence) to be related because their personal belief demands that they be related. Closely related to the Forer effect, subjective validation is an important element in cold reading. It is considered to be the main reason behind most reports of paranormal phenomena. According to Bob Carroll, psychologist Ray Hyman is considered to be the foremost expert on subjective validation and cold reading.
- Forer, B.R. (1949) "The Fallacy of Personal Validation: A classroom Demonstration of Gullibility," Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 44, 118-121.
- Cline, Austin. Flaws in Reasoning and Arguments: Subjective Validation, Seeing Patterns & Connections That Aren't Really There Archived 2007-12-13 at the Wayback Machine., About.com, September 10, 2007. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- Carrol, Bob. "Hope in Small Doses". Skepticality. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- Frazier, Kendrick (1986). Science Confronts the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 101.
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