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 University, and Katina Kulow and Thomas Kramer of the University of South Carolina, said.

read more here.  The premise of this research,  that the participants would choose cleaning their house to change their fate, seems flawed.  To me it makes sense that participants given bad news would choose going to a party to cheer themselves up rather than to be self-indulgent.  After all, the house can be cleaned any day.

In any case, newspaper “horoscopes” really are for entertainment only and should not be relied upon for making any kind of serious decision.  Serious astrology involves an examination of the placement of all of the planets and their interaction with the entirety of the natal chart, not just a few general sentences about one “star sign.”

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