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Belief in Astrology: a social-psychological analysis

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Social scientists have suggested several different hypotheses to account for the prevalence of belief in astrology among certain sections of the public in modern times. It has been proposed: (1) that as an elaborate and systematic belief system, astrology is attractive to people with intermediate levels of scientific knowledge [the superficial knowledge hypothesis]; (2) that belief in astrology reflects a kind of 'metaphysical unrest' that is to be found amongst those with a religious orientation but little or no integration into the structures of organized religion, perhaps as a result of 'social disintegration' consequent upon the collapse of community or upon social mobility [the metaphysical unrest hypothesis]; and (3) that belief in astrology is prevalent amongst those with an 'authoritarian character' [authoritarian personality hypothesis]. The paper tests these hypotheses against the results of British survey data from 1988. The evidence appears to support variants of hypotheses (1) and (2), but not hypothesis (3). It is proposed that serious interest or involvement in astrology is not primarily the result of a lack of scientific knowledge or understanding; rather, it is a compensatory activity with considerable attractions to segments of the population whose social world is labile or transitional; belief in astrology may be an indicator of the disintegration of community and its concomitant uncertainties and anxieties. Paradoxical as it may appear, astrology may be part and parcel of late modernity.
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Belief in Astrology:
a social-psychological analysis
Martin Bauer1 and John Durant2
Abstract
Social scientists have suggested several different hypotheses to account for
the prevalence of belief in astrology among certain sections of the public in
modern times. It has been proposed: (1) that as an elaborate and systematic
belief system, astrology is attractive to people with intermediate levels of
scientific knowledge [the superficial knowledge hypothesis]; (2) that belief
in astrology reflects a kind of ‘metaphysical unrest’ that is to be found
amongst those with a religious orientation but little or no integration into the
structures of organized religion, perhaps as a result of ‘social disintegration’
consequent upon the collapse of community or upon social mobility [the
metaphysical unrest hypothesis]; and (3) that belief in astrology is prevalent
amongst those with an ‘authoritarian character’ [authoritarian personality
hypothesis].
The paper tests these hypotheses against the results of British survey data
from 1988. The evidence appears to support variants of hypotheses (1) and
(2), but not hypothesis (3). It is proposed that serious interest or involvement
in astrology is not primarily the result of a lack of scientific knowledge or
understanding; rather, it is a compensatory activity with considerable
attractions to segments of the population whose social world is labile or
transitional; belief in astrology may be an indicator of the disintegration of
community and its concomitant uncertainties and anxieties. Paradoxical as it
may appear, astrology may be part and parcel of late modernity.
1. Introduction
Across the industrialized world, astrology has attractions for large numbers
of people. Horoscopes are read by millions; astrologers are personally
1 London School of Economics, Department of Social Psychology
2 Science Museum and Imperial College, London
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56 Belief in Astrology: a social-psychological analysis
consulted by tens or hundreds of thousands; rumour has it that the London
City is a booming place for astrological consultancy; even the wives of
Presidents1, it appears, may consult with astrologers before advising their
husbands on how to conduct affairs of state. In all these situations astrology
seems to offer a degree of certainty where uncertainty prevails. To many
scientists and science educators who are concerned about the public
understanding of science, the enduring popularity of astrology is an affront.
How can it be, they ask, that in the last decade of the 20th century so many
people are still prepared to embrace pre-scientific and even frankly
superstitious belief systems?
Faced with the task of accounting for the enduring popularity of
astrology, it is tempting to invoke the phenomenon of ‘anti-science’ - that is,
active resistance to the principles and practises of science. In this context, it
may be significant that the first of a series of US-Soviet conferences on the
social and political dimensions of science and technology, which was held at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in May 1991, was devoted to
‘Anti-Science Trends in the United States and the Soviet Union’.
Significantly, the two parallel keynote addresses to this conference - by
Gerald Holton, of Harvard University, and Sergei Kapitza, of the Institute
for Physical Problems (Moscow) - pointed to the need for a critical
understanding of the phenomenon of anti-science. According to Holton anti-
science in the US is symptomatic of a long-standing struggle over the
legitimacy of the authority of conventional science;2 while for Kapitza, anti-
science in the east is part and parcel of the wider social and political
transformation of the former Soviet Union.3
In a recent BBC radio programme prominent representatives of churches,
science, and the arts discussed the apparent popularity of astrology and
parasciences in Britain under the label ‘pre-millennium tension’ [PMT].4
Ironically, on the issue of astrology and parasciences, the traditionally
polarised positions of science and religion converged. It seems that present
day astrology claims the territory which makes the Church and Science
equally nervous. Albeit, the nervousness may have different sources.
In this paper, we investigate the phenomenon of popular belief in
astrology in Britain in the late 20th century. Our evidence concerning the
place of astrology in British culture is derived from the results of a 1988
national random sample survey designed to estimate levels of public interest
in, understanding of and attitudes towards science and technology. In the
course of this survey several questions were asked about astrology5. The
results of these items enable us to explore three different sociological
hypotheses which have been advanced to account for the prevalence of
Martin Bauer and John Durant
Culture and Cosmos
57
belief in astrology amongst certain sections of the public: first, that astrology
is attractive to people with intermediate levels of scientific knowledge
[superficial knowledge hypothesis]; second, that astrology is attractive to
people who possess what has been termed ‘metaphysical unrest’ without
integration into a Church; their unrest could therefore be considered free-
floating [metaphysical unrest hypothesis]; and third, that belief in astrology
is prevalent amongst people with authoritarian personality characteristics
[authoritarian personality hypothesis].
Astrology must be considered the grandmother of modern science in at
least two aspects: its concern with regularities in the universe, and its attempt
to deal with these regularities numerically. Keith Thomas observed that ‘at
the beginning of the 16th century astrological doctrines were part of the
educated man's picture of the universe and its workings’; London was a
booming centre of astrological divinations for a mainly elite clientele of
Court, nobility and Church until its decline in the mid-17th century.6 In one
sense it is not surprising that in a country that prides itself on tradition and
continuity we find residuals or even revivals of such activities in the late
20th century. In this paper we try to locate contemporary belief in astrology
in order to understand its social and psychological functions; while
temporarily abstaining from evaluations of the belief itself.
We begin by defining our measures of public belief in astrology, and then
proceed to use these measures to explore the three hypotheses.
2. Measuring Popular Belief in Astrology
The British survey was conducted in the early summer of 1988. The sample
of 2009 respondents was designed to be representative of the adult
population of Britain over the age of eighteen. The survey was conducted by
means of face-to-face interviews lasting between forty minutes and one
hour. The questionnaire covered a wide variety of topics in the general field
of science and technology. In particular, it developed a multi-item scalar
measure of scientific understanding. Further details of the survey
methodology and the results on public understanding of science have been
published elsewhere.7,8,9,10
So far as the present study is concerned, the following items from this
national survey are of particular interest. First, respondents were asked ‘Do
you sometimes read a horoscope or a personal astrology report?’. Those
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58 Belief in Astrology: a social-psychological analysis
who responded positively were then asked (a) how often they read a
horoscope or personal astrology report [frequency] and (b) how seriously
they took what these reports said [seriousness]. 73% of respondents claimed
to read a horoscope or personal astrology report. 21% said that they would
read it ‘often’, 23% ‘fairly often’, 29% ‘not often’, and 27% did not read it
‘at all’. Hence, 44% claimed to do so often or fairly often. However, a rather
smaller number of respondents (6%) claimed to take what horoscopes or
personal astrology reports said either ‘seriously’ or ‘fairly seriously’. 67%
took it not very seriously, and 27% took it not at all seriously. This result
points immediately to the problematic status of astrology in the minds of
many of those who take at least some personal interest in it.
Figure 1: the combined percentages of respondents for two questions: ‘how
frequently do you read astrology columns?’ and ‘how seriously do you take it?’
Martin Bauer and John Durant
Culture and Cosmos
59
In order to accommodate these results in a useful way, we have combined
them into a single scalar measure. Figure 1 brings together the results on
readership and seriousness, which we combined into a 5 point-scale of belief
in astrology. The scale is derived from the readership and seriousness results
in the following way: those who reported that they read horoscopes often or
fairly often and that they took them seriously or fairly seriously are ranked 5
(serious believers 5%); those who reported that they read horoscopes often
and that they took them not very seriously are ranked 4 (non-serious
believers, 18%); those who reported that they read horoscopes fairly often
and that they took them not very seriously are ranked 3 (non-serious
believers, 21%); those who reported that they read horoscopes not very often
and that they took them not very seriously are ranked 2 (non-serious
believers, 29%); and those who reported that they did not read horoscopes at
all are ranked 1 (non-believers, 27%).11 With around 5% of the population or
2.5-3 million, the constituency of serious believers in astrology is a small
minority compared to the constituency adhering to basic religious creeds
such as ‘God’, a ‘life after death’ or ‘miracles’, which includes half or more
of the British population.12 For much of the following analysis the 5-point
scale is reduced by pooling 1+2, 3, and 4+5 into a 3-point scale.
Another item in the survey invited respondents to estimate the scientific
status of astrology (which was defined as ‘the study of horoscopes’) on a 5
point-scale, from ‘not at all scientific’ to ‘very scientific’. 32% of
respondents stated that astrology was not at all scientific (scale point 1),
while 13% stated that it was very scientific (scale point 5); 18% said it was
in between (scale point 3); a further 17% tended towards ‘not scientific’
(scale point 2), and 14% tended towards 'scientific' (scale point 4); 5% did
not know.
Our survey incorporated two standard measures concerning religious
belief and religious integration. Religious belief was constructed as a scalar
measure on the basis of responses to the following agree/disagree items:
‘spiritual values taught by religion are important’; ‘there is no such thing as a
God’; ‘people should rely more on the power of prayer’; and ‘Adam and Eve
never really existed’.13 Religious affiliation was constructed as a scalar
measure on the basis on the following items: ‘Do you regard yourself as
belonging to any particular religion?’; and (if yes), ‘Apart from such special
occasions as weddings, funerals and baptisms, how often nowadays do you
attend services or meetings connected with your religion?’.14
Finally, the survey comprised two standard scales on authoritarianism-
egalitarianism’ and ‘social efficacy’. Authoritarianism is indicated by
consistently agreeing with statements such ascensorship of film and
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60 Belief in Astrology: a social-psychological analysis
magazines is necessary to uphold morality’ or ‘school should always teach
children to obey authority’. Social efficacy is indicated by disagreeing with
statements such as ‘I feel it's very difficult to have any real influence on what
other people do or think’ or agreeing with ‘people like me can influence the
government by taking an active part in politics’.
3. Exploring the Basis of Popular Belief in Astrology
Equipped with the measures that have been described above, we can begin
to explore the basis of popular belief in astrology. We shall do this by
considering in turn three different hypotheses that have been advanced to
account for this phenomenon.
i. Superficial Knowledge
It has been claimed that belief in astrology is the product of a relatively
slight or superficial acquaintance with the stock of modern scientific
knowledge. On this view, people with what might be termed an intermediate
level of scientific understanding may be attracted by astrology because it
possesses many of the ‘trappings’ of orthodox science (systematic structure,
predictive power, numeracy etc.); but they may be insufficiently well
equipped to see that these things really are the ‘trappings’ rather than the
substance of genuine science. Thus, in his classic paper of 1957 on the Los
Angeles Times Astrology Column as an example ofsecondary
superstition’, Theodor Adorno wrote as follows:
While the naive persons who take more or less for granted what
happens hardly ask the questions astrology pretends to answer and
while really educated and intellectually fully developed persons
would look through the fallacy of astrology, it is an ideal stimulus
for those who have started to reflect, who are dissatisfied with the
veneer of mere existence and who are looking for a ‘key’, but who
are at the same time incapable of the sustained intellectual effort
required by theoretical insight and also lack the critical training
without which it would be utterly futile to attempt to understand
what is happening.15
We may pass over what seem by today’s standards the somewhat elitist and
patronising tones of Adorno's analysis. What concerns us here is whether the
basic prediction - that astrology is attractive to people with intermediate
Martin Bauer and John Durant
Culture and Cosmos
61
levels of scientific understanding - is fulfilled. If that were the case, we
would expect belief in astrology to be positively correlated with knowledge
of science up to a certain level of scientific knowledge, beyond which this
correlation becomes negative. In other words, we would expect a non-linear
inverted U-shape relationship shown between scientific knowledge and the
status of astrology.
This issue may be addressed by comparing the results of our question on
the scientific status of astrology with the results of our multi-item scalar
measure of scientific understanding. Figure 2 shows these results, compared
with those for a similar item on the scientific status of physics. While there is
a linear relationship between scientific understanding and the perceived
scientific status of physics, there is a curvilinear relationship between
scientific understanding and the perceived scientific status of astrology. In
other words, our data do indeed bear out Adorno's hypothesis.
It should be noted that Figure 2 gives the proportions of respondents who
ranked astrology and physics as ‘very scientific’. We can learn a little more
by comparing these results with those for other available options concerning
the scientific status of astrology. Figure 3 shows the results for three groups
of respondents: those who stated that astrology is not scientific (responses 1
+ 2); those who stated that astrology is neither scientific nor unscientific, or
who said they didn't know (neither + don't know); and those who stated that
astrology is scientific (responses 4 + 5). Those with low levels of
understanding have a strong tendency to avoid a definite judgement about
astrology; while those with high levels of understanding have a strong
tendency to state that astrology is unscientific. Amongst those with
intermediate levels of understanding, there is less obvious consensus: some
think astrology is scientific, some think it is not, and some don't know.
So much for the perceived scientific status of astrology. What, we may
ask, about belief? Figure 4 compares belief in astrology with scientific
understanding measured by a 28-item knowledge quiz.16 As we might expect
overall there is a negative correlation between scientific understanding and
belief in astrology (r = -.21). However, on closer inspection it emerges that
this negative correlation applies only to the
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62 Belief in Astrology: a social-psychological analysis
Figure 2: the scientific status attributed to physics and astrology in relation to the
level of understanding of science; percentage of respondents saying 'scientific' or
'very scientific' combined.
Martin Bauer and John Durant
Culture and Cosmos
63
Figure 3 shows the percentage of respondents saying thatastrology is not
scientific’, ‘don't know’ or ‘astrology is scientific’ in relation to levels of
understanding of science.
upper half of the understanding scale. We may wish to ignore the sudden
jump of belief in astrology at the very top of the knowledge scale, which is
based on a too few observations to be significant. However, within the 50%
of the general public whose relative scientific understanding is below
average, there is no correlation at all between levels of understanding and
belief in astrology. This is a pointer to a potential problem with measures of
scientific literacy that incorporate questions on the scientific status of
astrology.17 Empirically, astrology and science are not mutually
incompatible at least at lower levels of scientific enculturation. To use
astrology as a threshold measure for ‘scientific literacy’ may be justifiable
on normative grounds, but it ignors the social phenomenon of compatibility
or incompatibility between these two forms of knowledge, which is itself a
significant cultural variable. We expect the correlation to differ across
cultural contexts.18
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64 Belief in Astrology: a social-psychological analysis
Figure 4 shows the average intensity of belief in astrology in relation to the level of
scientific understanding.
ii. ‘Metaphysical Unrest’
It has been claimed that astrology has particular attractions for people who
are alive to religion but who are poorly integrated into the institutional
structures of a religious community. In this category are, for example, those
who have been brought up in a particular religion and retain a religious
outlook on life, but who for one reason or another (including social mobility
or the collapse of community) have ceased to be closely tied to the particular
church in which they were raised. Thus, Maitre and Boy & Michelat have
observed in France of the 1960s and 1980s and Schmidtchen in Germany of
the 1950s that astrology tends to be less popular amongst those who are
closely integrated into the institutions of organized religion. The French
characterize astrology as a petit-bourgeois phenomenon of social
uncertainty, social isolation and individualisation.19 According to Valadier,
this result is consistent with the hypothesis that astrology feeds
Martin Bauer and John Durant
Culture and Cosmos
65
upon a free-floating ‘metaphysical unrest’, or a desire to recover a sense of
the sacred and a sense of unity on the part of people whose life world no
longer provides for these experiences; Pollack sees it as one among many
forms of religiosity-outside-the-church in the context of the collapse of old
certainties in Eastern Germany.20 Based on these previous observations, we
would expect to find serious inclinations towards astrology most prevalent
among religious believers with little or no religious integration.
We may put this hypothesis to the test in the context of our British data.
Our data show that there is a very slight tendency for belief in astrology to
be greater amongst those with higher levels of religious belief (r = 0.10).
However, inclination towards astrology is highest amongst those with
intermediate levels of integration into the institutions of organized religion.
Putting these results together, Figure 5 shows average belief in astrology in
relation to both religious belief (1 = low; 3 = high) and religious integration
(1 = low; 3 = high).
Figure 5: the average intensity of belief in astrology in relation to religious belief
and religious integration
Culture and Cosmos
66 Belief in Astrology: a social-psychological analysis
We see that belief in astrology is highest amongst those who combine strong
religious belief and intermediate or low religious integration. The fact that an
intermediary level of integration is associated with highest level of belief in
astrology is perhaps unexpected. On the other hand, it may be that having
one foot in the Church and the other outside it may be the very situation of
social uncertainty which Valadier takes as diagnostic for present-day belief
in astrology. To this extent, therefore, we are able to confirm Valadier's
hypothesis and Schmidtchen, Maitre and Boy & Michelat's results
suggesting that astrology has particular attractions for those who may be
experiencing free-floating metaphysical unrest. Needless to say, our data do
not permit us to explore the sources of such unrest in the lives of our
respondents. This is an area where qualitative and biographical research may
be more revealing.
iii. The Authoritarian Personality
The third and last hypothesis that we shall consider takes us back to the work
of Theodor W Adorno. In the course of his analysis of astrology, Adorno
noted that in general terms the astrological ideology resembles, in all its
major characteristics, the mentality of the ‘high scorers’ of The Authoritarian
Personality’. In addition to what he believed to be the narcissism, self-
absorption, naive empiricism and fatalism of astrology, Adorno pointed to its
tendency to attribute everything negative in life to external, mostly physical
circumstances. In these and other ways, he suggested, astrology had
affinities with the authoritarian personality.21
Once again, our data may be used to test this hypothesis since the survey
contained a standard battery of psychological items designed to provide
measures of authoritarianism-egalitarianism and ‘social efficacy’, defined as
personal sense of control over the social world. The data shows that in our
study there is no significant tendency for belief in astrology to be greater
amongst those who score higher on the authoritarianism scale. We find,
however, that belief in astrology is stronger amongst those who score low on
social efficacy (r = -.21). Astrology, it would seem, is indeed particularly
attractive to persons with certain characteristics, namely those who have
little sense of control over their lives. Thus, Adorno's hypothesis is not
supported by our data, while the fatalism element was confirmed. Given that
this famous authoritarian personality syndrome is more complex than our
crude measure suggests, we suggest that further work is needed on this
subject.
Martin Bauer and John Durant
Culture and Cosmos
67
4. Characterizing the Believers in Astrology
According to our results, the field in which the believers in astrology are
generally to be found is one in which people possess intermediate levels of
scientific understanding, high levels of religiosity, and low levels of
religious integration. But what sorts of people are actually to be found within
this field? In addition to what has already been said about personality, our
data suggest that women are more likely to believe in astrology than men.
Among the believers in astrology [scale 4+5] 77% are women; among the
declared sceptics 73% are men [scale 1+2]. With the exception of clerks (a
high proportion of whom are, of course, women) self-employed, skilled and
semi-skilled workers are in that order more likely to believe in astrology
than people in professional and managerial occupations. It is interesting to
note here that according to Boy & Michelat, different social strata are
associated with different sorts of ‘para-interests’: in France astrology is the
pursuit of the less educated, while para-science is the pursuit of the highly
educated. Our data do not allow us to compare this result with the situation
in Britain.
These simple correlations are difficult to interpret because of the
notorious problem of confounding variables. In other words, it may be that
we find a correlation between belief in astrology and social class only
because both in turn are related to some third factor (such as education, or
social efficacy). To reduce the ambiguity of our results, we have subjected
our data on belief in astrology to a form of statistical analysis (Logit
modelling) which is designed to analyse differences between two unequally
distributed groups.22 In this case, we wish to analyse the contributions to
differences in astrological belief of each of a series of independent variables.
Each independent variable is assessed individually, whilst possible effects
from all other variables are controlled. This analysis ranks independent
variables in order of importance, and it excludes variables which are found
to make no statistically significant contributions.
We used a Logit model in which differences between sub-sets of the
sample with respect to belief in astrology were analysed with the following
independent variables: interest in science; understanding of science;
religious belief; religious integration; authoritarianism; social efficacy; age;
gender; marital status; social class; educational level; and nature of work (i.e.
full/part-time). Comparing the extreme groups of serious astrology believers
(ranked 5) with non-believers (ranked 1 + 2) in this way, we obtain the
following results. The variables which are relevant for the model
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68 Belief in Astrology: a social-psychological analysis
are in order of importance: (1) gender, (2) religious belief, (3) living alone or
in partnership, (4) age, (5) religious integration, and (6) the attributed
scientific status of astrology. All other variables are irrelevant in explaining
the difference between serious believers and sceptics. Note that the religious
variables remain important, while personality and scientific understanding
fall out of the equation. This indicates that the ‘metaphysical unrest’
hypothesis may be the strongest of the three hypotheses.
Comparing the category of playful, non-serious believers in astrology
(ranked 4) with the sceptics (ranked 1 + 2), we obtain slightly different
results. Again in order of importance the following variables are relevant: (1)
gender; (2) marital status; (3) social efficacy; (4) educational level; and (5)
attributed scientific status of astrology. In distinguishing between the playful
and curious approach to astrology and the sceptics we lose the religious
variable from the equation and gain education and efficacy.
At least as significant as the list of items that appear in these analyses is
the list of items that do not. From these results, it would appear that interest
in science and scientific understanding are not significant contributors to
variations in belief in astrology. This, in turn, casts serious doubt on the
advisability of employing measures of belief in astrology as constituent
items in larger constructs concerned with scientific understanding or
scientific literacy.
On the basis of these results, we can risk a caricature of believers in
astrology. Serious believers in astrology tend to be: female rather than male;
single rather than living with partners; younger rather than older; and
religiously motivated rather than indifferent; and inclined to attribute
scientific status to astrology. The non-serious and playful astrology
consumer also tends to be female and to live alone, to be less educated, less
in control of their affairs, and to consider astrology to be more scientific than
the sceptics allow.
5. Conclusion
We began by citing recent concerns at the rise of astrology as an anti-science
phenomenon, East and West. Kapitza suggests that in part the rise of anti-
science in the (former) Soviet Union may be explicable in terms of the
ideological collapse of the Soviet empire. Such a collapse may be expected
to have left an intellectual and spiritual vacuum, and this in turn will have
helped to bring about a certain amount of social disintegration. Similarly,
Holton proposes that the anti-science phenomenon in the United States
Martin Bauer and John Durant
Culture and Cosmos
69
should be understood as part of a deeper opposition both to the authority of
science and to a certain conception of modernity. Both of these analyses
invite us to consider popular belief in astrology as a great deal more than the
passive result of mere ignorance.
In general, we suggest that there are three different ways of approaching
the problem of popular belief in astrology. First, it may be regarded
positivistically, as an anachronistic survival of a pre-scientific world-view.
In this context, popular belief in astrology is seen as an atavistic
phenomenon. Second, it may be regarded anthropologically, as an
alternative world-view deserving of attention and respect in its own right. In
this context, we are required to make no value-judgements about the
respective merits of non-scientific and scientific positions. Third, it may be
regarded sociologically, as one among a number of potential compensatory
activity that may be attractive to individuals who are struggling to come to
terms with the uncertainties of life in late modernity.
In this paper, we have inclined towards the last of these approaches.
Belief in astrology is rather a matter of the moral fabric of modern society
than of scientific literacy. It seems that in Britain, as in Germany or France,
belief in astrology is prevalent among particular social groups; groups
which, as we have indicated, may be experiencing difficulty in
accommodating their religious feelings to life in an uncertain post-industrial
culture. Paradoxical as it may seem, therefore, we conclude that popular
belief in astrology may be part and parcel of late modernity itself.
References
1. An earlier version of this paper was given to the Annual Meeting of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, 9 February 1992; at the time it was
common currency that Nancy Reagan, the wife of former President Reagan, was consulting
with astrologers on matters of US state affairs.
3. Kapitza S (1991) ‘Anti-science trends in the USSR’, Scientific American, 265, 2, August,
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4. 'Moral Maze', 14 November 1996, BBC4, 9.00-10.00; moderated by Melvin Bragg. This
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5. Acknowledgement: The 1988 British national survey of public understanding of science is
a joint Science Museum/University of Oxford and Community Planning Research (SCPR)
project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, grant numbers: A 09250013
and A 418254007.
Culture and Cosmos
70 Belief in Astrology: a social-psychological analysis
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14. Internal consistency of religious integration: Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficient = 0.73.
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18. We do recall from the Chicago meeting in 1992 that in the discussion an Indian theoretical
physicist was quite irritated and outspoken about the tacit assumption in much of the
discussion according to which science and astrology were incompatible. He made reference to
the Indian context where Brahmanic knowledge traditions seem to have no problem of
compatibility between modern science and astrology.
Martin Bauer and John Durant
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... However, the people having the sun in an undesirable zodiac sign (Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces) were introverted. Nevertheless, in a survey conducted by Bauer and Durant (1997), with 2000 sampled populations of British people showed that 44 per cent of respondents told they read a horoscope often. Though, only 6 per cent claimed to take it seriously what it described. ...
... In the United States, 90 per cent of the press publishes horoscopes, and 30 per cent to 60 per cent of the people do trust in horoscopes. Similarly, in a survey of Gallup, Bauer and Durant (1997) revealed that astrology columns in newspapers and magazines are extensively read. In 1984, the committee for the scientific investigation of claims of Paranorma campaigned for the American newspapers and magazines to bring a disassociation together with the astrology column informing that they were to be read for entertainment determinations only and had no basis in scientific fact. ...
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Horoscopes are considered as one of the important content items in the mass media. Many people perceive and believe that these Zodiac signs have an impact on their lives. That is why they check these signs on different media regularly. The purpose of this study was to determine the perception of Sindh University students about horoscope. A cross-sectional survey was conducted from 100 students of Sindh University through a close-ended questionnaire. The results concluded that girls are more interested in horoscope than boys. The sources for horoscope prediction were mainly newspapers among the Sindh University students. The students reported that they read horoscope daily to skip the pressure and try to satisfy their minds. This research is limited to the University of Sindh students. In the future, the researchers should conduct a large-scale study with a more significant population to determine the perception of the public about horoscopes. ____________________
... Maitre (1966) examined a sample of Parisians, showing that about 30% of those surveyed reported to be consumers of astrology. Some 20 years later, in the UK, in 1988, Bauer and Durant (1997) report that 73% of the adult population read horoscopes or astrology reports, with the majority doing so "fairly often" or "often." For the USA, in 1999, about half of the population surveyed for the 2000 Science and Engineering Indicators report claimed that they read their horoscope at least occasionally (National Science Board, 2000). ...
... Existing data suggests that the majority of individuals who read horoscopes do so primarily for the entertainment value of it, with less than one of ten individuals in the UK, claiming that they take astrology reports "seriously" or "fairly seriously" (Bauer & Durant, 1997). More recent statistics from many different countries, however, indicate that the share of the population who look to horoscopes not only for entertainment but also believe them to have scientific value is considerably higher than what is suggested by the figure from the UK. ...
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This paper examines astrology, a concept that is considered unscientific by broad segments of the population in the western world. Despite this, astrology remains for some an important source for advice regarding choices in a range of different matters, including career and relationships. The continuing popularity of astrology may at least partly be linked to an insufficient body of empirical research that has been able to test hypotheses formulated by astrological theory, both due to a lack of data beyond very small study populations as well as astrological predictions frequently being vague and thereby difficult to test. This article examines how differences in astrological favorability influence partner choice in marriage as well as the divorce risk among married couples using longitudinal individual-level data from Sweden over the period 1968-2001. The results fail to provide any consistent evidence to support the notion that astrologically more compatible couples are either overrepresented among observed marital unions or associated with a lower risk of divorce.
... These clients are already involved with metaphysical elements and may already be benefitting from them in terms of personal development. As Bauer & Durant (1997) remark, these are the type of people who may be religious believers but have little integration of religion for various reasons. Therefore, clients that discuss a higher power as the source or an all-knowing or something larger than them, but do not necessarily fall into religious affiliation might also be good clients to integrate the use of Gene Keys as the Keys help people connect with higher plains of consciousness. ...
... Despite its outstanding performance scores in PISA science assessment, in countries like Taiwan where scientific concepts are 'imported', it is common that an embedded cultural belief in the paranormal can co-exist with a culture of science (Bauer and Durant, 1997;Needham, 1956). Fortune-telling and astrological television programs are popular (Chiu, 2006;Tsai et al., 2012;Tseng et al., 2014). ...
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Modern science communication has emerged in the twentieth century as a field of study, a body of practice and a profession—and it is a practice with deep historical roots. We have seen the birth of interactive science centres, the first university actions in teaching and conducting research, and a sharp growth in employment of science communicators. This collection charts the emergence of modern science communication across the world. This is the first volume to map investment around the globe in science centres, university courses and research, publications and conferences as well as tell the national stories of science communication. How did it all begin? How has development varied from one country to another? What motivated governments, institutions and people to see science communication as an answer to questions of the social place of science? Communicating Science describes the pathways followed by 39 different countries. All continents and many cultures are represented. For some countries, this is the first time that their science communication story has been told. Edited by: Toss Gascoigne, Bernard Schiele, Joan Leach, Michelle Riedlinger, Bruce V. Lewenstein, Luisa Massarani, Peter Broks Download the book FREE at: https://press.anu.edu.au/publications/communicating-science
... Despite its outstanding performance scores in PISA science assessment, in countries like Taiwan where scientific concepts are 'imported', it is common that an embedded cultural belief in the paranormal can co-exist with a culture of science (Bauer and Durant, 1997;Needham, 1956). Fortune-telling and astrological television programs are popular (Chiu, 2006;Tsai et al., 2012;Tseng et al., 2014). ...
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Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country located in East Asia, with neighbours that include China to the west, Japan to the northeast and the Philippines to the south. This chapter offers a brief overview of science communication in Taiwan through three different periods of evolution: 1945–80, 1981–2000 and 2001 to the present. The first period 1945–80 concentrated on ‘useful science’. The second period highlighted the importance of science education, science popularisation and the emergence of civil awareness of one’s environment, and sheds light on the emergence of science communication. Taiwan (under the Kuomintang ‘KMT’ ruling party, which led the occupation of Taiwan in 1949) formally ended almost 40 years of martial law in 1987, opening the way for its citizens to participate in free public debates, engagement and discussions about civil society. This newfound freedom spurred public debates on science and technology. The last period deals with developments from 2001, including systematic efforts to improve science communication. This outline gives us a chance to look both backward and forward and offers an example for other countries.
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This book addresses the challenge of understanding human life. We compare our life experience with the attempts to grasp it by astrologers, eugenicists, psychologists, social scientists, and philosophers. How have these various disciplines sought to give substance to an experience at once so intimate and so universal?
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