Image from Telegraph article
Just when I start to think that astrology is gaining respect in the mainstream an article like this comes along that shows how newspaper predictions are still confused with astrology:
Astrology may seem like harmless fun – but a new study suggests following your star sign could be bad for you.
Consumers who read their horoscope daily were found to be more likely to exhibit impulsive or indulgent behaviour when their zodiac was negative, the research suggested.
Already this article in the Telegraph is all kinds of wrong. First of all, there is no such thing as a “star sign” – the signs of the zodiac are “Sun signs” – the signs that the Sun travels through on its path (called the “ecliptic”) as we observe it from Planet Earth. Second, the zodiac is the collection of Sun signs that form the band of the ecliptic. We don’t have a personal zodiac.
A number of participants were presented with unfavourable star sign readings and asked to choose between either going to a party or cleaning their home.
Participants who selected going to a party were seen as having made an indulgent decision and those who chose to clean their home were categorised as having made a virtuous one.
The study found that those who had read a negative horoscope before making their choice were more likely to choose going to the party over the more virtuous activity.
Researchers had expected participants to chose a more virtuous action to prevent the unfavourable outcome presented in their horoscope.
“Conventional wisdom might suggest that for people who believe they can change their fate, an unfavourable horoscope should result in an attempt to improve their fate,” the authors of study, Hyeongmin Kim of Johns Hopkins […]
First, there is not an astrologer in the world today that makes prediction on marriage success using sun signs. Thanks to the Internet there is enough information available to the general public about astrology to educate everyone that astrology involves far more than just the sign the Sun was in at the time of your birth.
So I am very surprised that if an academic institution like the University of Manchester was going to conduct an in-depth study on the effectiveness of astrology on predicting marriage duration, that they used sun sign prediction for their massive study of ten million marriages.
They do preface the article by admitting that
A complete horoscope, or natal chart, includes information about where the sun, moon and planets would have been observed relative to each other and to the constellations of the zodiac at the time and place of the subject’s birth. Popular astrology in the West focuses on one key element in this chart: the ‘sun sign’ (or ‘star sign’ in colloquial parlance), which is determined by the position of the earth in its annual revolution around the sun.
So it doesn’t really make sense that the study then goes on to conflate “astrology” with Sun signs.
You can read the study yourself if you like, but suffice it to say that the research found no correlation between marriages and astrological signs that was greater than the statistical chance would suggest.
Even if we put aside for a moment the argument that Sun signs are generally one of the LEAST significant indicators of compatibility, I have found in 30 years of working with clients that the most successful marriages are among the least compatible charts. Compatibility is just not that significant an indicator of marital success.
Most of us […]
Someone posted this article on our astroblogger Facebook group:
Until recently, I had a dirty little secret. I write horoscopes. Or at least, I used to. Now it’s not such a dirty little secret because a) I’ve just told you and b) there aren’t that many horoscope clients left in my portfolio any more, anyway. But back in the day – oh yes. I was the BBC Slink teen astrologer for 13 years until the site closed last year and provided daily teen horoscopes throughout that time. … ; You might think that this was a track record to be proud of. My husband, bless him, certainly thought so and would waste no time in telling people proudly about my various clients while I smiled through gritted teeth and quickly changed the subject. I wasn’t particularly proud; not ashamed either, exactly, but, well, embarrassed. You see, as a professional astrologer. I know better than anyone that sun sign horoscopes are by their very nature generalisations at best and at worst a load of tosh. Telling someone that I was writing them made it sound as though I – and worse, every other member of my profession – truly believed that all Scorpios were going to win the lottery on Thursday, but not before their Leo partners had ditched them for the next door neighbour and run off to start a new life on the Costa del Sol. Bracing myself for the “but you don’t actually believe all that stuff, do you?” question, it was easier to just move off the subject than try to defend *real* astrology and point out that I was just writing horoscopes because it paid well.
The word “horoscope” has come to mean […]
Russell Foster, a researcher with Oxford University in the UK, has uncovered a correlation between birth month and career path.
According to researchers, a child born in December is more likely to become a dentist while someone whose birthday falls in January is more likely to become a debt collector. Those babies born in February are likely to turn their hand to painting, while March babies go on to become pilots.
Speaking earlier this year, neuroscientist Russell Foster from Oxford University says: ‘The effects are small but very, very clear. I am not going to give voice to astrology – but we are not immune to seasonal interference.
I’d like to see more details about this study but haven’t been able to find them. Because zodiac sun signs run generally from the 20-23rd of the month people born in December and January could theoretically have the same sun sign which wouldn’t clarify the study from an astrological viewpoint. Babies born in late February would be Pisces and therefore artistic talent could come naturally, and in late March the Aries babies would have the courage required to fly planes in the air.
I love how conventional science is willing to believe in “seasonal interference,” but thinks astrology is “mumbo jumbo.” As Michel Gauquelin, famous astrological researcher, wrote:
Having collected over 20,000 dates of birth of professional celebrities from various European countries and from the United States, I had to draw the unavoidable conclusion that the position of the planets at birth is linked to one’s destiny. What a challenge to the rational mind!”
If anyone can point me to the original study, I would be quite grateful!
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Here is an interesting article about an experiment performed in 1948 by Bertram R. Forer who collected statements from sun sign columns and then presented them to his subjects as though they were personally assessed as part of a personality profile. Note: “horoscopes” are not sun sign forecasts, the horoscope is the actual map of the sky at a given time – the astrological chart, if you will.
These statements include the following:
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.
The author of this article is correct – these do all apply to everyone to some extent or another. The Forer Effect is designed to prove something psychologists call “Subjective Validation,” or as the author says, “you are far more vulnerable to suggestion when the subject of the conversation is you.”
The author goes on to write:
Seen straight on, […]