Source: WikiImages / Pixabay
Although many people believe that astrological information about a person, such as their birth sign, can provide insight into their personality, there is a great lack of scientific support for this. For example, studies have shown that professional astrologers who were asked to match someone’s birth chart with information about their true personality were no more accurate than a completely different person. Similarly, people asked to choose an astrological interpretation of their actual birth chart from a random selection of other people’s charts could not do so (Dean & Kelly, 2003).
Does belief in astrology shape a person’s self-concept?
Nevertheless, there have been many studies that claim that a person’s belief in astrology can influence how he describes his personality, through the process of self-stereotyping. In a study with 422 people (Van Rooij, 1999), participants indicated that 96 traits (8 for each sun sign) derived from astrological literature applied to them. For example, Aries is considered impulsive, Taurus conservative, and so on. Participants were considered astrologically knowledgeable if they knew their sun sign and at least three traits associated with it. Indeed, participants with knowledge of astrology were found to be more likely to apply the relevant characteristics to themselves than those without such knowledge.
Other research has tested the claim that people born under sun signs are considered more “positive” than those born under “negative” signs. In astrology, odd-numbered signs are traditionally considered “masculine” or “positive” because they are associated with the “active” elements of fire and air, while odd-numbered signs are “feminine.” or perceived as “negative” as they are. Associated with the “passive” elements of water and earth. Since extroverts are more extroverted and dynamic than introverts, they tend to be associated with positive birth signs.
A study with 743 people (Chico & Lorenzo-Siva, 2006) tested whether this apparent relationship between positive signs and extravagance might depend on a person’s astrological beliefs. The study found that among people born under a positive sign, those who believed in astrology had more extras. However, among those born under a negative sign, there was no difference between believers and non-believers.
Zodiac signs are not related to personality, even among believers
As surprising as these studies are, they used relatively modest sample sizes, which raises the possibility that the results may be due to statistical sampling instead of primary findings. A study in China (Lu et al., 2020) using a much larger sample may help resolve this issue, as even smaller statistical effects can be detected with thousands of participants. It will also help remove any remaining doubts as to whether astrology itself has any scientific validity.
Using online sampling, Lu et al. 173,709 Chinese participants aged 18 to 60 were recruited, who provided their date of birth, and completed the Big Five personality traits including extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Additionally, they tested whether any of the participants’ birth signs differed from each other in their ratings of stereotyped adjectives associated with each sign that they had collected in a previous survey (e.g., such Charming adjectives like “poison” for Scorpio, etc.) They also examined whether season of birth was associated with any of the Big Five traits, as some past research has indicated. Additionally, a large subset of participants (17,373) were asked whether they believed in astrology.
Unfortunately for the reliability of astrology, but surprisingly from a scientific perspective, none of the 12 astrological signs were significantly correlated with any of the Big Five personality traits. Additionally, none of the four factors associated with each sign, and neither sign had a “positive” or “negative” effect on personality. People born in the seasons tend to be somewhat more eccentric than others. Furthermore, none of the 12 signs differed from each other in terms of their stereotyped characteristics, for example, Scorpio was not any of the other 11 signs. rated no more than “poison.” They repeated the analysis for only believers in astrology and only for non-believers and found similar results.
The results of this study show that people’s birth signs have no effect on their personality. Additionally, they suggest that a person’s belief in astrology does not matter. This appears to contradict the idea that such beliefs can influence one’s actual personality, such as their level of extraversion.
Astrological stereotypes can have negative consequences
It is worth noting further that belief in astrology is not only scientifically baseless, but may have some undesirable social implications. Lu et al. His research also includes a series of studies on discrimination based on astrological stereotypes in China. They found that the sign of a virgin carries negative connotations especially in China, which are not found in Western countries, because of the negative stereotypes associated with the word “virgin” indicating that a person is fragile and fragile. is the.
This stereotyping had real-world consequences, as their survey found that Chinese people would be reluctant to date someone born under this sign, and managers admitted that they actually discriminated against them in hiring decisions. do This latter behavior was particularly unfair, as Lu et al. used a large database of 32,878 employees who had both birth information and at least one performance evaluation and, surprisingly again, found that no astrological sign was associated with actual job performance ratings.
The negative social consequences associated with astrology do not appear to be limited to China. Research in France (Dambrun, 2004) found that belief in astrology was associated with prejudice and more sexist attitudes against Arabs and fat people. Interestingly, the result of sexuality still applies when only female participants were considered in the research.
Additionally, the study found that the relationship between belief in astrology and prejudice was mediated by the attribution of internal responsibility for a lot in life, for example, “poverty is the result of laziness.” Dumbron suggested that astrology may be associated with “phenomenological determination,” that is, a person’s characteristics are determined by fate, which may encourage unsympathetic attitudes toward the less fortunate. Another study in Europe found that people who believe that it is important for a child to learn obedience are more likely to believe that astrology is scientific (Allum, 2011). This suggests that followers of astrology may have more authoritarian attitudes. Although true, it may not be belief in astrology that leads to prejudice or authoritarian views, because the root cause may be some other factor related to all these things.
If I were more optimistic, I would hope that the fact that no correlation between zodiac signs and personality could be found in a sample of over 100,000 people would be enough to put astrology to rest for good. However, irrationality seems deeply ingrained in human psychology, so I wouldn’t count on it just yet.
Facebook/LinkedIn Image: pixelheadphoto digitalskillet/Shutterstock