Believing in astrology makes you become like your star sign

[Excerpt from: Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things, Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., 2007]

Hans Eysenck was arguably one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, and at the time of his death in 1997 he was the living psychologist most frequently cited in scientific journals and magazines… He is… perhaps best known for his work on the analysis of human personality, and he developed some of the most widely used personality questionnaires in modern-day psychology…

Eysenck teamed up with a respected British astrologer named Jeff Mayo.  A few years before, Mayo had founded the Mayo School of Astrology and rapidly gained a large international following of students.  About 2,000 of Mayo’s clients and students were asked to report their birth dates and to complete the Eysenck Personality Inventory…

Much to the surprise of the skeptics, the results were perfectly in line with astrological lore… But Eysenck became suspicious when he realized that the participants in his study already had a strong belief in astrology.  Most people who have such beliefs are well aware of the types that astrology predicts they are meant to be, and he wondered whether this knowledge had undermined the study…

Eysenck conducted two additional studies to explore this idea.  The first involved people who were far less likely to have heard about the personality characteristics associated with different star signs – a group of 1,000 children.  This time, the results were dramatically different and didn’t match the patterns predicted by astrological lore….

To make certain, Eysenck ran a second birth date/personality study with adults, but he also assessed what they knew about astrology.  Those knowledgeable about the effect the planets should have on personality did conform to the pattern predicted by astrology.  In contrast, those who professed no knowledge showed no patterning.  The conclusion was clear.  The positions of the planets at the moment of a person’s birth had no magical effect on personality.  Instead, many of the people who were well aware of the personality traits associated with their signs had developed into the people predicted by the astrologers

This is not the only time that researchers have found evidence that people become what others expect them to be.  In the 1950s, the psychologist Gustaf Jahoda studied the lives of the Ashanti people in central Ghana.  According to tradition, every Ashanti child receives a spiritual name that is based on the day he or she is born, and each day is associated with a set of personality traits.  Those born on a Monday are referred to as Kwadwo and are traditionally seen as quiet, retiring, and peaceful.  Children born on a Wednesday are referred to as Kwaku and are expected to be badly behaved…

Jahoda wanted to know whether this early labeling could have a long-term impact on the self-image, and lives, of Ashanti children.  To find out, he examined the frequency with which people born on different days of the week appeared in juvenile court records.  The results showed the label given to children at birth affected their behavior, with significantly fewer Kwadwos, and more Kwaku, appearing in the records.


2 thoughts on “Believing in astrology makes you become like your star sign

  1. I beg to differ. There does seem to be an illusionary belief that I’m aware of. At times though. The ones who has no knowledge on their charts and astrology may still get an accurate reading from time to time. There really isn’t no way to proof either theory unfortunately.


    • “There really isn’t no way to proof either theory unfortunately.”

      Of course there is. If astrology worked, we could easily conduct experiments that proved it. We’d have plenty of studies by now proving there’s a strong correlation between birth timing and personality. We’d have plenty of studies proving that professional astrologers’ predictions are more accurate than random chance.

      So where are they?

      As you just learned, the studies have been done and they show the opposite.

      At this point, someone still claiming “there’s no proof either way” is admitting a lack of interest in truth.


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