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My mom has always felt a strong connection to astrology. Whenever she mentions star charts and horoscopes, I can’t help but recall the Barnum Effect from my (very limited) knowledge of psychology. Essentially, this effect is a cognitive bias in which humans are susceptible to internalizing vague and easily relatable statements and believing them as fact. I believe that we, as humans, with flaws and struggles, want the universe to guide us in the right direction. If there are essential parts of my personality that have developed solely because of the time and place that I was born, of course I’d want to maximize those values in order to live my most successful life. 

 During fall break, my mom started raving about a new app she had discovered, called The Pattern, that had seemingly oracle-like properties. All I had to do was enter my time and place of birth, and my whole future was seemingly laid out before me. Every morning at 9am, I get a “pattern reminder” that provides insights about my life and advice on how to move forward. 

I would be lying if I said that all of these reminders were perfectly correct in their guidance. In my opinion, a lot of the messages are unclear (re: Barnum Effect), but sometimes they seem eerily relevant and accurate. The app’s advice about personal growth, relationships, and timing is often helpful to me as a young adult who can feel lost and overwhelmed. Sometimes, the reinforcement that certain things are meant to be happening to me because of a specific reason can be extremely comforting.

The Pattern also has a section in which you can “run a bond” with another user. Both my mom and my roommate have connected with me on the app, and I have found the advice that it has given about our relationships to be extremely accurate. Although I think that there can definitely be a danger in allowing an unsolicited app to be the sole dictator of the actions that we take within relationships, I have definitely been able to find helpful pieces of wisdom in my daily messages. 

At the end of the day, I don’t really know how I feel about the app or horoscopes in general. Personally, I know that I look toward the messages with less scrutiny in times of uncertainty. If I’m feeling insecure, I want someone (or something) to tell me what I should do next. While I definitely believe that some of the app’s messages have been positive and think that it’s a fun way to connect with others, I know that reliance on The Pattern definitely has the potential to lead people astray. I think that we all know what is best for ourselves, and that gut feelings will lead to greater success than any app could provide. 

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Caroline Sullivan

Holy Cross '23

A Lover of books, coffee, and style from Long Island, New York!
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