Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blood Type Craze in Japan

Blood type obsession in Japan

Apparently, increasing numbers of Japanese citizens are subscribing to the theory that "blood types determine every aspect of personality, temperament and interaction with others".

Sounds suspiciously similar to astrology.

Despite a undeniable lack of scientific evidence proving a link between blood type and temperament, this has not stopped the Japanese population enthusiastically embracing the concept.

The above is an excellent working definition of pseudoscience - scientific-sounding claims sans any actual science, yet it amazingly finds popular appeal among people who ought to know better.

The descriptions of the bloodtype-derived personalities are simply absurd:

TYPE A – Patient, uptight, sensitive, responsible, cautious.

Famous examples: Adolf Hitler, Britney Spears, Ringo Starr

TYPE B – Individual, unconventional, optimistic, unpredictable, creative, strong

Famous examples: Paul McCartney, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo Di Caprio

TYPE O – Trendsetting, passionate, vain, self-confident, loyal.

Famous examples: The Queen, John Lennon, Liam Gallagher

TYPE AB – Sociable, popular, calm, rational, critical, indecisive

Famous examples: Marilyn Monroe, John F Kennedy, Mick Jagger

Two words: Forer effect

There's nothing magical about the blood type system. It's just antigens on the surface of your red blood cells, that's it. It doesn't dictate personality, it dictates immune response when receiving a blood transfusion.

The history of this incredibly gullible way of thinking makes for interesting reading:

The fad faded in the 1930s as its unscientific basis became evident. It was revived in the 1970s with a book by Masahiko Nomi, a lawyer and broadcaster with no medical background. Nomi's work was largely uncontrolled and anecdotal, and the methodology of his conclusions is unclear. Because of this he has been heavily assailed by the Japanese psychological community, although his books are phenomenally popular.

A dying pseudoscience that was revived by a non-expert's popular books and enjoys ridiculous popularity despite the fact that it's completely wrong? Okay, now it reminds me of creationism.

And don't get me started on the blood type diet...

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