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The effect of horoscopes on women's relationships

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Abstract

An experiment was designed to try to find out whether women’s relationships are affected by what they read in their horoscopes. Forty-six female undergraduates were randomly assigned to two groups. One group was given a horoscope that contained positive love advice; the other neutral love advice. All participants completed an Astrology Awareness Questionnaire. Questionnaires concerning the women’s relationships were completed both before and after they received the horoscopes, with about six weeks between the two. Scores on the relationships questionnaires did not change after the neutral advice, and were slightly (though not significantly) higher after the positive love advice. Levels of knowledge of and belief in astrology were high, but very few subjects said they would change their behaviour according to what they read in their horoscope.
The effect of horoscopes on women’s relationships
Susan Blackmore and Marianne Seebold
Department of Psychology
University of the West of England
Bristol BS16 2JP
Published in 2001 Correlation, 19 (2), 17-32
Note. This is the final draft. The paper was slightly edited before publication. For
more information on Correlation see http://www.AstrologicalAssociation.com
Abstract
An experiment was designed to try to find out whether women’s relationships are affected by what
they read in their horoscopes. Forty-six female undergraduates were randomly assigned to two
groups. One group was given a horoscope that contained positive love advice; the other neutral love
advice. All participants completed an Astrology Awareness Questionnaire. Questionnaires concerning
the women’s relationships were completed both before and after they received the hor oscopes, with
about six weeks between the two. Scores on the relationships questionnaires did not change after the
neutral advice, and were slightly (though not significantly) higher after the positive love advice. Levels
of knowledge of and belief in astrology were high, but very few subjects said they would change their
behaviour according to what they read in their horoscope.
Introduction
Astrology columns in newspapers and magazines are widely read (Gallup and Newport, 1991; Bauer
and Durant, 1997) but we do not know whether the people who read them make serious decisions, or
alter their behaviour, on the basis of what they read. This is important because extensive scientific
research has failed to support most of the claims of astrology. If people simply read their horoscopes
for fun and are not affected by what they read, then the failure of astrology’s claims does not matter.
On the other hand, if people’s lives are affected by what they read in their horoscopes and in
astrology columns then they are potentially basing their lives on false information, and this does
matter, both for the individuals concerned and for everyone else.
In 1984 the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal campaigned for
American newspapers and magazines to carry a disclaimer alongside astrology columns saying that
they were to be read for entertainment only and had no basis in scientific fact. Although the number of
publications doing so has steadily risen, by 1998 only 60 U.S. newspapers carried the disclaimer out
of the many thousands that have astrology columns. Editors are unwilling to use the disclaimer; often
arguing that it is not needed because their readers don’t take the column seriously and already read it
only for fun. If they are right, then this disclaimer is irrelevant. However, if people’s lives are affected
by what they read then the implications are serious and the disclaimer might help. For this reason we
tried to find out.
Astrology has been defined as “The study that deals with the connections believed to exist between
the positions of the planets at the moment of someone’s birth and that person’s character,
development, profession, marriage and general life history.” (Eysenck & Nias, 1982). Based on this
definition, the ‘astrological hypothesis’ is that these connections really do exist.
There is little doubt that experimental tests have generally failed to support the astrological
hypothesis. In several experiments people have been given an interpretation based on their own birth
chart and one or more interpretations based on a different chart. All showed that people were unable
to pick out their own (e.g. Carlson, 1985, or see Culver & Ianna, 1988; Dean, 1987a; Dean, Mather &
Kelly, 1996 for reviews). In other experiments, subjects were given their own chart together with a
reversed chart and asked to pick their own. They did not do better than chance (Dean 1987b). Some
experiments could be deemed unfair by astrologers so it is important that astrologers agree in
advance that a method of testing is fair. This was the case in another study by Dean (1987b) in which
subjects were chosen for extreme introversion or extraversion, and stability or instability according to
the Eysenck Personality Inventory. 45 astrologers were given the birth charts of these people and
asked to rate their personalities on the same scales. A further 45 astrologers were asked to guess.
Those using the charts did slightly worse than those who guessed.
A well known study found weak correlations between sun signs and personality (Mayo, White and
Eysenck, 1978) but this effect disappeared when only people unfamiliar with astrology were tested.
Rooij (1994) confirmed the findings of Mayo et al in finding that people born with the sun in a positive
sign (Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius) were more extravert and those with the sun in a
negative sign (Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces) more introvert. However, this was
found only with people who had some astrological knowledge, suggesting that the result is due to self-
attribution. That is, people who know what they are supposed to be like according to their sun sign will
complete questionnaires accordingly. Pawlik and Buse (1984) confirmed the self attribution theory
using a large sample of 799 people with varying familiarity with astrology. People may even alter their
personality to fit their knowledge of astrology. Fichten and Sunerton (1983) found that when
participants knew the astrological descriptions of their sign they rated their description as a more
accurate depiction of their personality than the other eleven signs specified for them, suggesting that
people incorporate aspects of astrological analysis into their long-term self concepts. Glick and
Snyder (1986) found that people actively seek out predictions that fit in with their horoscopes and
ignore the predictions that do not. Hamilton (1995) also showed that knowledge of astrology can
affect long-term self concept even in people who are not strong believers in astrology. As he points
out, this suggests that astrology may limit personal growth. Given that astrology is often promoted as
an aid to personal growth, this conclusion should be given serious consideration.
Astrologers may reasonably object that sun signs are too crude to predict personality accurately and
that more information should be used. Clarke (1996) used the positions of sun and moon and the
ascendant, but found no support for the claim that positive signs are related with extraversion and
water signs with emotionality.
Others may argue that for a proper assessment the whole birth chart is needed. This leads to a
simple prediction. If the astrological hypothesis is correct then correlations between personality and
the whole birth chart will be much higher than correlations between personality and just the sun sign.
If the self-attribution theory is correct then the reverse should be true. Correlations between
personality and sun sign should be higher because most people know something about their sun sign
but very few know about their whole chart or its astrological implications for their personality. This was
tested by King (1995) who drew up charts for 69 people and gave them Eysenck’s EPQ and an
astrology questionnaire, correlating extraversion with sun sign, ascendant and the whole chart. She
found that, if anything, the relationship with the ascendant was the strongest. However, all the
correlations were weak and only 52 subjects gave their time of birth. This is clearly an interesting
hypothesis that needs further testing.
All this research suggests that people’s personality may be affected by what they read in horoscopes,
even though that information is invalid. In spite of this, most people claim not to take astrology
seriously. For example, Bauer and Durant (1997) in a survey of just over two thousand British people,
found that while 44% of respondents said they read a horoscope or personal astrology report ‘often’
or ‘fairly often’, only 6% claimed to take what it said either ‘seriously’ or ‘fairly serious ly’. Few surveys
have asked whether people alter their behaviour according to what they read in horoscopes. Gorer
(1947) found that 5% said they followed advice in horoscopes, 18% occasionally did so, and 77% said
they never did. In a study by Miller (1983), fewer than 2 % of college graduates said they changed
their behaviour because of horoscopes. However, even if people claim not to be affected, we could
not know whether they were right in that self assessment. It may be the case that people are affected
by their horoscopes while remaining convinced that they are not. For example, they may be biased by
what they have read in their horoscope when they make important decisions about their love life, their
career or their finances.
The two most common topics covered in horoscopes and astrology columns are money and love
(Adorno, 1974; Svenson & White, 1995). Both are important in people’s lives and it is therefore
important to know whether people’s decisions are affected by reading potentially false information in
horoscopes. An experimental method for finding out is to assign subjects randomly to separate
groups and give them horoscopes which make opposite predictions or assessments of their financial
or romantic prospects. Their behaviour or self-assessment can then be measured to see whether it is
affected by the horoscope.
This method was used by Bailey (1997) to study gambling behaviour. She gave 30 subjects a
questionnaire about their spending on the National Lottery both before and after they received a
personalised horoscope. They were divided randomly into three groups. For one group the horoscope
contained an added statement that they would be specially lucky in the near future and should take
their chances, for the second that they would be unlucky and should avoid wasting cash on useless
pursuits, and the third contained no reference to luck. Unfortunately the subjects spent so little on the
lottery that no meaningful results could be obtained on spending. However, those given the unlucky
reading became significantly less confident about winning something on the lottery. Sixty-two subjects
completed the astrology questionnaire and Bailey found that believers in astrology rated their
horoscopes as far more accurate than non-believers. Only 11% said they would let their behaviour be
influenced by what an astrologer said, with believers being more likely to say so.
The study reported here uses a similar method to investigate the effect of horoscopes on women’s
relationships. Women only were used in the study because astrology columns are far more often
targeted at women than men readers, and surveys show that women more often read them than men
do (Svenson, 1990).
Subjects rated their current relationships using a specially designed questionnaire. They were then
randomly assigned to one of two groups, one receiving a horoscope with positive love advice, the
other with neutral love advice. They then completed the relationships questionnaire a second time to
see whether the horoscopes had had any effect. Subjects also completed an awareness of astrology
questionnaire and their scores were correlated with the difference between their two relationship
scores to determine whether those women with higher knowledge of and belief in astrology were
more affected by the horoscope.
Method
Subjects
Subjects were 46 women undergraduates (studying psychology, humanities or nursing) at the
University of the West of England. Mean age was 26 years. The real purpose of the study was not
explained to them beforehand. They were told that the purpose of the study was to investigate
women’s belief in astrology and their attitudes towards their relationships, and that they would be
given an individual horoscope as a token for taking part. Informed consent was obtained and they
were fully debriefed at the end of the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to the positive and
neutral groups by tossing a coin.
Procedure
There were three sessions, all conducted in classes at the university. In the first session all subjects
(initially 61) completed the astrology and relationship questionnaires. In the second session, two
weeks later, they were given their personalised horoscopes. In the final session, about a month later,
they completed the relationship questionnaire once more. Some students did not attend the relevant
lectures and their questionnaires or horoscopes were sent to them via their pigeon holes. 46 of the
students completed all the questionnaires.
Materials
Awareness of astrology questionnaire
There is no widely accepted tool for measuring belief in or knowledge of astrology. Therefore a
questionnaire was developed especially for this study. It consisted of 12 yes/no questions about
knowledge of astrology (e.g. Have you ever had a personal horoscope done? Do you think that
astrology is just superstition? Would you alter your behaviour due to material that you read in your
horoscope?) and the question “How much do you believe in astrology?” to be answered by marking a
line from ‘not at all’ to ‘completely’. The questionnaire was piloted before use and any ambiguous or
confusing questions were changed. One point was given for positive answers to the first 12 questions
and these were added to provide an overall score. The belief question correlated positively with this
score (r = 0.87) (r = Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient). The questionnaire is
reproduced in Appendix 1.
Relationship Assessment Questionnaire
Existing questionnaires were consulted (Fincham, Fernandes and Humphreys, 1993) but none was
suitable for this experiment. The best known questionnaires are all many years old and designed
mainly for married couples (Gottman, 1979). For example the Locke-Wallace Marital Adjustment
Scale (Locke & Wallace 1959) is well validated and widely used, but was not suitable for the sample
used here which consisted of undergraduate students, in un-married, married, homosexual and
heterosexual relationships. Therefore a new questionnaire was developed to assess how happy
women were with their current relationship. This was piloted first on five women and then, after some
changes, on twenty more women. Split half reliability was satisfactory (r = 0.59). There were twelve
questions, such as “How happy are you currently with your relationship?” or “How much do you trust
your partner?”, each followed by a line labelled “Not at all” at one end and “Completely” at the other.
Subjects had to mark the line at the position best corresponding to their answer. Distance on the line
was measured in centimetres for each question, reversed for negative questions, and the results
added to give an overall relationship score. Possible scores ranged from 0 to 120. The questionnaire
is reproduced in Appendix 2.
Horoscopes
Twelve different horoscopes were written, one for each sun sign, based on the Hearst Co-operation’s
Internet horoscope profiles (1998), the horoscope section of Cosmopolitan Magazine (Hyde, 1999)
and a Teach Yourself Astrology book (Mayo and Ramsdale, 1996). Embedded in the middle of each
was the ‘love’ section in one of two versions (making 24 horoscopes altogether). This was either
positive in tone, describing the person’s love life as looking stronger and more passionate this month
and giving advice on how to make it even better, or neutral, advising the reader to put more effort into
personal relationships this month and suggesting how problems can be overcome by listening to each
other’s needs. Negative advice might have had a stronger effect but we did not wish to use this for
ethical reasons. The horoscopes were checked by five people, including an astrologer, to ensure that
they sounded realistic and appropriate. Examples are given in Appendix 3.
Results
Results for the astrology questionnaire are shown in Table 1. It can be seen that all subjects knew
their sun sign, very few (13%) said they would consult an astrologer before getting married or settling
down, and only 15% said they would alter their behaviour due to material they read in horoscopes.
Total scores on the 12 questions correlated highly positively with the final belief question (rs = 0.81, n
= 46, p = < 0.001) (rs = Spearman’s rho correlation coefficient).
Table 1. Results of Astrology Awareness Questionnaire
Question
number
Question
% said Yes
1
Know her star (sun) sign
100
2
Know her moon sign
22
3
Regularly reads horoscopes in newspapers/magazines
70
4
Values advice given by astrologer
39
5
Astrologer has compiled personal horoscope for her
15
6
Thinks sign description accurately reflects personality
85
7
Would consult an astrologer before getting married/settling down
13
8
Has read teach yourself astrology book/taken astrology course
24
9
Thinks astrology is NOT just superstition
72
10
Would alter behaviour due to material read in horoscope
15
11
Finds out star signs of people she has relationships with
89
12
Has read book about star sign in love or year ahead for star sign
78
Mean scores on the relationship questionnaire are given in Table 2. For subjects given the positive
horoscope mean scores increased slightly afterwards, while scores for those given the neutral
horoscope did not change. The difference in score before and after receiving the horoscope was
recorded for each subject and these differences compared between the two groups. The difference is
in the expected direction but did not reach statistical significance (t = 0.64, df = 44, p = 0.26 1-tailed).
(A result is said to be statistically significant when the p value is less than 0.05. That is, such a result
would be expected by chance less than one time in twenty).
Table 2 Mean scores on Relationships Questionnaire (possible range 0-120)
Horoscope
type
Number of
subjects
Mean before
horoscope
Standard
deviation
Standard deviation
Positive
24
89.9
18.3
19.5
Neutral
22
91.5
23.8
19.0
We expected that women whose knowledge of and belief in astrology was higher would be more likely
to be affected by what they read in their horoscope. This effect should be detectable in the group that
received the positive love advice but not in the neutral group. For each subject the difference between
the first and second relationship score was correlated with their astrology score. For the ‘positive’
group the correlation was positive and significant (r = 0.39, n = 24, p = 0.03 1-tailed). For the ‘neutral’
group the correlation was also positive but not significant (r = 0.30, n = 22, p = 0.09 1-tailed). These
results were, therefore, as we had expected. This supports the prediction that those who know more
about astrology are more affected by what their horoscope says.
Discussion
The results did not show that horoscopes with positive love advice significantly improved women’s
rating of their relationships more than those with neutral advice. However, the effect was in the
expected direction and was greater for those women who had greater knowledge of and belief in
astrology. Such effects are important because they could potentially limit women’s personal growth,
distort their relationships and reduce their own control over the most intimate aspects of their lives.
More generally, the questionnaire results confirm the strong influence of astrology on women’s lives.
72% do not think astrology is just superstition and almost 90% said that they find out the sun signs of
people they have relationships with. 78% had read a book concerning their sun sign in love. Even
though only 15% said they would alter their behaviour according to what they read in a horoscope,
these results suggest that astrology may influence women’s behaviour in many ways.
There were various weaknesses in the present experiment which could be improved upon in future
research. Although subjects were assigned randomly to groups, they were not in fact well matched for
their initial relationship scores. A bigger sample would help reduce this problem, or subjects could be
matched for relationship scores before assignment to groups.
The biggest problem was in designing the love advice. We only had ethical approval to carry out the
experiment using positive and neutral advice, not negative advice, even though negative advice might
be expected to have a more powerful effect. In fact newspaper astrology columns routinely include
negative suggestions (Adorno, 1974), and Svenson and White (1995) have shown that the type of
wording used in horoscopes generates dependence, helplessness, irrationality, and portrays readers
as unlucky in love. Future experiments might, with appropriate precautions, include negative love
advice.
Our participants were told that their horoscopes were drawn up individually for each of them. This
might be expected to have more effect than reading a magazine column which is supposed to apply
to one in twelve of the population. Future research might use manipulated sun sign columns as well.
More generally, the method used here could be adapted to measure the effects of reading
manipulated horoscopes or star sign predictions on people’s self-concept, happiness with their
relationships, and many kinds of behaviour, for example risk taking, money management, or time
allocation. With such research we might be able to find out whether astrology columns really are just a
bit of harmless fun or whether people’s behaviour is influenced without them realising it.
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Appendix 1.
AWARENESS OF ASTROLOGY QUESTIONNAIRE.
Please fill out the following details:
(a) Date of birth……/……/……
(b)Time of birth………………..
(c)Place of birth………………..
Answer the following questions as quickly and as truthfully as possible by placing a tick in the
corresponding box.
Do you know your star (sun) sign ?
YES NO
Do you know your moon sign ?
YES NO
Do you regularly read your horoscope in magazines and newspapers ?
YES NO
Do you value the advice given by the astrologer ?
YES NO
Has an astrologer ever compiled a personal horoscope for you ?
YES NO
Do you think that your star sign description accurately reflects your personality ?
YES NO
Would you consult an astrologer before getting married or settling down with a partner ?
YES NO
Have you ever read a teach yourself astrology book or taken an astrology course ?
YES NO
Do you think that astrology is just superstition ?
YES NO
(10) Would you alter your behaviour due to material that you read in your horoscope ?
YES NO
(11) Do you find out the star signs of people that you have relationships with ?
YES NO
(12) Have you ever read a book concerning your star sign in love, or the year ahead for your
star sign ?
YES NO
(13) How much do you believe in astrology ?
Please rate your belief on the scale below.
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
Thank you for your time in completing this questionnaire, could you please check that you have
answered all the questions.
Appendix 2.
Relationship Assessment Questionnaire
Can you please answer the following questions by marking your answers on the corresponding line,
where the ends of the lines equal the strength of your response. For example if you completely
agreed with the following statement your answer would look like this:
EXAMPLE: How important is physical attraction in your relationship ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(1) Do you feel that your partner understands you ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(2) How happy are you currently with your relationship ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(3) How often do you argue with your partner ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Constantly)
(4) Is jealousy a problem in your relationship ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(5) Are you happy with the amount of effort that your partner puts into the relationship ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(6) Has infidelity ever caused problems in your relationship ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(7) Are you happy with the amount of quality time that you spend together with your partner ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(8) Do you feel confident about the future of your relationship ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(9) Does money cause problems in your relationship ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(10) Do you trust your partner ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(11) Do your families cause problems in your relationship ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
(12) How satisfied are you with your sex life ?
(Not at all)———————————————————(Completely)
Thank you for your time in completing this questionnaire, could you please check that you have
answered all the questions.
Appendix 3. Examples of Horoscopes
POSITIVE LOVE INFORMATION HOROSCOPE
PISCES: (
You may have felt let down and vulnerable recently and prone to questioning your basic ideals. From
today though, your ruler Neptune moves in a positive forward direction once more which will tend to
renew your faith in human nature over the coming months.
CAREER:
Life is on the up on the work front, so sit back and enjoy it. Watch as your social life really takes off
and mask any insecurities with a smile and hearty laugh. People are beginning to notice that you’re
special in a big way so relax and stop worrying. Over-sensitivity on your side is stopping you from
basking in the limelight.
LOVE:
Your love life is looking stronger and more passionate this month. Allowing your partner an insight into
what turns you on, and telling them how you really feel will enable the two of you to share your
fantasies and dreams. Thus together you can explore new and exciting territories. By sharing and
indulging in your fantasies your relationship will reach new and heady heights.
PERSONALITY:
Otherworldly, ultra sensitive and intuitive you give out and in return need to receive a lot of love. Your
personality is complex, one side is wildly romantic, sensitive and creative whilst the other can be
depressive and frustrated. Don’t let your self-critical side invade too far into your life this month.
NEUTRAL LOVE INFORMATION HOROSCOPE.
PISCES: (
You may have felt let down and vulnerable recently and prone to questioning your basic ideals. From
today though your ruler Neptune moves in a positive forward direction once more which will tend to
renew your faith in human nature over the coming months.
CAREER:
Life is on the up on the work front, so sit back and enjoy it. Watch as your social life really takes off
and mask any insecurities with a smile and hearty laugh. People are beginning to notice that you’re
special in a big way so relax and stop worrying. Over-sensitivity on your side is stopping you from
basking in the limelight.
LOVE:
Brace yourself to put more effort into personal relationships this month. Problems can be easily
overcome by taking time out to listen to each other’s needs. You need to remember that when
difficulties arise it takes two to make a relationship work harmoniously. Allowing relationships priority
in your agenda this month is essential. Emotional issues are an important aspect of people’s lives
PERSONALITY:
Otherworldly, ultra sensitive and intuitive you give out and in return need to receive a lot of love. Your
personality is complex, one side is wildly romantic, sensitive and creative whilst the other can be
depressive and frustrated. Don’t let your self-critical side invade too far into your life this month.
... Soon, horoscopes became staples of newspapers and women's magazines (Evans, 1996). They have become so popular that in 1984, American newspapers were urged to carry a disclaimer alongside horoscope columns to claim they were unscientific (Blackmore & Seebold, 2001). This popularity has persisted in the digital age as online fortune telling sites also became popular (Kuo, 2009). ...
... This is consistent with what Fichten and Sunerton (1983) described as horoscopes' self-fulfilling prophecy: Believing in horoscopes affects people's self-assessment of whether or not horoscope predictions apply to their respective experiences. For instance, an experiment involving 46 female undergraduates concluded that those who knew more about astrology tended to get more affected by what their horoscopes said (Blackmore & Seebold, 2001). Another experiment found that those who endorse astrological beliefs judge their horoscopes as useful, even if these were actually just Barnum profiles, the same profile description that fits everyone (Rogers & Soule, 2009). ...
... It would be interesting to see if different authors' works exhibit the same patterns and dominant themes. The vast majority of the work pertaining to horoscopes examines content (Adorno, 1994;Evans, 1996;Jacques, 2004;Svensen & White, 1995), and since studies have shown that horoscopes affect the beliefs of those who consume them (Blackmore & Seebold, 2001;Fichten & Sunerton, 1983), it is also important to study if horoscopes affect not only those beliefs, but also the actions of astrology followers. ...
... Furthermore, Blackmore and Seebold (2001)surveyed 46 undergraduate female (enrolled in psychology, humanities, or nursing) at the University of the West of England. The purpose of this study was to examine women's trust in astrology and their attitudes to their relationships. ...
... Whereas, a month later, in the final session, the inquiry about the relationship once more. The result found that 72% did not think about astrology, and 78% concerned their sun signs in love for the relationship, while 15% altered their behaviours (Blackmore & Seebold, 2001). ...
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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. ____________________
... In the West, despite the fact that polls differ in estimates of how many people actually "believe" in astrology, the average percentage is around 20% to 30%. 24 According to an astrology awareness survey in England, 100 percent of respondents "know their star sign", 89 percent "know the star signs of people they have relationships with", 70 percent "read their horoscopes regularly", and 85 percent agree that "the description of their star sign accurately reflects their personality" (Blackmore and Seebold, 2001). Although we could not find corresponding official surveys on astrology belief in China, considering that the Chinese zodiac has penetrated into various aspects of the Chinese folk culture and is frequently used by the Chinese in life decisions (such as marriage decisions, fertility decisions, making friends and screening potential employees), we believe that the awareness of and belief in astrology should be significantly higher in China, especially in rural areas (where superstition still prevails) and among older generations. ...
Thesis
This dissertation comprises three independent essays on empirical development and labour economics using data from both the UK and China. Chapter 1 provides the first economic investigation into the treatment effect of the Equality Act (EA) 2010 in Great Britain, which replaced the previous UK Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995, and studies its consequences on disabled people’s labour market status. I find optimistic evidence that the policy change improved the employment and wages of the disabled. In the last two chapters, I study the effects of migration on families and family members left behind, focusing on the case of China’s Great Migration. In particular, Chapter 2 presents new evidence on the impact of daughters’ and sons’ migrations on the health and well-being of their elderly parents left behind in the rural villages. The migration of daughters increases parents’ outcomes, whereas no similar beneficial effects were found for the migration of sons. Chapter 3 examines the impact of adult children’s migration and remittances on the expenditure decisions of the rural households left behind, comparing households with temporary versus permanent migrants. I conclude that policymakers should view permanent migration as a potential pathway to boost local economic development.
... According to Sachs, among the 13 sun-sign pairs that displayed higher than expected marriage probabilities, 12 belonged to pairings that are deemed astrologically compatible. Another study, by Blackmore and Seebold (2001) found that women who are subjected to positive love advice through their horoscopes were observed with slightly elevated relationship scores, compared to women exposed to neutral advice. Effects were largest for women with greater belief in astrology, consistent with self-attribution. ...
Article
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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.
... First of all, it is hardly surprising that astrology and horoscopes tend to affect women rather than men. Blackmore & Seebold's study (2001) confirms the strong influence of astrology on women's lives and behavior, especially when their relationships are concerned (Blackmore & Seebold, 2001). Another piece of research looks at the horoscope from the point of view of consumers' behavior and the ways it could be influenced by the daily predictions we find in the media. ...
Book
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ТРАДИЦИЯТА КАТО ВДЪХНОВЕНИЕ Станислав Богданов (съставител). Издателство на Нов български университет, София, 2014 г. Сборник с доклади от десетата юбилейна зимна школа на департамент "Англицистика". Зимната школа на Департамент „Англицистика” е ежегодно организиран форум по въпросите на чуждоезиковото обучение, обучението по превод, лингвистика, културология и литература, както и обучението на учители. С настоящия сборник, който обединява 13 текста в два раздела, отбелязваме десетгодишния юбилей на форума. В него участват и колеги от други университети в България и чужбина. http://www.englishstudies.nbu.bg/download/departamenti/anglicistika/Publikacii/tradiciyata-kato-vdahnovenie.pdf
... A surprisingly large quantity of scientific research has been carried out to evaluate the claims of astrology. Less surprisingly, there is really no evidence to support such claims (Blackmore & Seebold, 2001; Carlson, 1985; Eysenck & Nias, 1982). It is therefore cause for concern if citizens make important life decisions based on entirely unreliable astrological predictions. ...
Article
Citizens in both North America and Europe are apt to read horoscope columns in newspapers and magazines. While some people read these casually and purely for entertainment, some believe that astrology has scientific status and can provide real insight into events and personality. Using data from a European survey, this article explores some of the reasons why some people think that astrology is scientific and how astrology is viewed in relation to other knowledge-producing practices. Three hypotheses in particular are tested. The first is that some Europeans lack the necessary scientific literacy to distinguish science from pseudoscience. The second is that people are confused about what astrology actually is. The third is derived from Adorno’s work on authoritarianism and the occult and postulates that those who adhere to authoritarian values are more likely to believe in astrological claims. Support is found for all three hypotheses.
Article
In A.D. 1605 Sir Francis Bacon appended to the "Advancement of Learning" some prescriptions for posterity. These contain an injunction to construct "A Just Astrology". Bacon had previously assessed the condition of this science in his main text. Like alchemy, astrology had a noble aim; like alchemy again, it had been more imaginative than rational; and, once more like alchemy, it needed the corrective and the purge. Astrology, as Bacon conceives it, is central and fundamental, for he defines it as "the real effects of the celestial bodies upon the terrestrial". This includes the action of the sun on the earth: without which there would be no astrology, because there would be no astrologers (JOSHUA C. GREGORY, 1944). This paper provides a review of ancient literature for the application of astrology in business management. It proposed a theoretical framework in terms of MBA for the instrument development and testing in future research. The findings of the secondary data review along with the proposed theoretical framework will help the stakeholders to know the various positive and negative aspects of the astrology .It will also help to integrate the concept of astrology with the business administration. It will provide guidance to the various agencies to formulate the strategies and policies to boost the business astrology in general management that will finally promote systematic implementation of the astrology in management process along with the management theories supported by statistical and astrological software.
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Consumer buying behaviour is the total sum of attitudes, preferences, intentions and decisions of consumers regarding the consumer's behavior in the marketplace when purchasing a product or service. Knowledge of consumer behaviour helps to understand how consumers think, feel and select from alternatives among products, brands etc. and how the consumers are influenced by their environment, reference groups, family, and salespeople etc. Consumer buying behaviour is influenced by cultural, social, personal and psychological factors. Psychological factors such as perception, attitude, personality and motivation need to be investigated. Astrology, which is one of the personal factors related to consumer buying behaviour, is the art or science of describing the character or destiny of a person by observing the position of the stars at the moment of the person’s birth. There is a significant relationship between horoscopes and women’s buying behaviour. Individuals make decisions to spend their available resources such as time, money, effort on the consumption of different products and services and horoscopes impact all marketing actions. The marketers have to understand which factors affect consumers by knowing what consumers buy, why they buy it, when they buy it, where they buy it, how often they buy it, and how often they use it. Just analyzing the demographic characteristics is not enough in the process of analyzing consumers because of the various psychological and personal factors such as perception, attitude, motivation and personality, affecting the buying behaviour. In the present research, personality which is one of the personal factors has been investigated alongside astrology from the point of women’s buying behaviour.
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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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The following were investigated in a series of studies on 366 college students: (a) individual differences associated with horoscope reading habits, (b) the reliability and validity of daily and monthly horoscope forecasts and astrologically based personality descriptions, and (c) the effects of knowing the zodiac sign on the perception of the usefulness of horoscope forecasts and on the accuracy of astrologically based personality descriptions. Results indicate that females were more likely to read their horoscopes. Although locus of control was unrelated to horoscope reading habits, Neuroticism on the EPI was closely related. Daily and monthly forecasts were shown to be unreliable and invalid. Astrologically based personality descriptions were found to have some reliability. Knowledge of zodiac sign was found to affect ratings of horoscope usefulness and accuracy of astrologically based personality descriptions. Such personality descriptions, even when not identified by zodiac sign, were shown to have some validity, at least in the eyes of readers. These results are explained by familiarity effects and by the “Barnum effect.”
Article
The group of studies to which the content analysis of the Los Angeles Times astrology column belongs, sets as its aim the investigation of the nature and motivations of some large-scale social phenomena involving irrational elements in a peculiar way—fused with what may be dubbed pseudo-rationality. Various mass movements spread all over the world in which people seem to act against their own rational interests of self-preservation and the “pursuit of happiness” have been evident now for a considerable length of time. It would be a mistake, however, to call such mass phenomena entirely “irrational,” to regard them as completely disconnected from individual and collective ego aims.
Article
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Article
Astrological theories assume a link between an individual's personality traits and the positions of the sun, moon, and planets in the zodiac at the moment of birth. Previous research has examined the relation of the sun sign to personality traits, but moon and ascendant signs have not been studied in relation to personality traits. The dominance effect of the sun on men and the moon on women has also not been empirically researched. Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) scores on extroversion and emotionality were obtained from 190 first-year university students. Date, time, and location of birth were requested, to establish the positions of the sun, moon, and ascendant in positive, negative, and water signs for each individual. Multiple t tests showed a significantly greater mean extroversion score for the group with both the sun and the moon in positive signs than for the group with both in negative signs. No other differences in means were significant. The findings generally did not support theories claiming that tendencies toward extroversion and emotionality are determined by astrological signs.
Article
This study reports a test of an astrological prediction according to which extraversion is related to being born under the odd numbered zodiacal signs, and introversion to being born under the even numbered zodiacal signs. Also tested is the hypothesis of greater emotionality for people born under the so-called water signs. Nine hundred seventeen male adult Ss and 1407 female adult Ss were administered the Eysenck Personality Inventory, and their birthdates ascertained. Results for males and females separately and jointly support the predictions made on the basis of astrological writings at a high level of significance. Possible causes for this finding are discussed, but it is concluded that artifacts are unlikely to have produced the results obtained.
Article
Tested the accuracy of astrological natal charts in describing the personality traits of 193 Ss (aged 17+ yrs). In Exp I, Ss provided information from which their natal charts and interpretations were constructed by astrologers. Each S then attempted to select his/her own natal chart interpretation from a group consisting of his/her own and 2 others. In Exp II, the astrologers were separately given the natal chart of a random S and a California Psychological Inventory (CPI) description of the S's personality traits along with CPI descriptions of 2 other Ss. The astrologers selected the 2 CPIs (1st and 2nd choice) that described personalities closest to the personality indicated by the natal chart. The astrologers also rated the CPIs for closeness of fit to the natal chart descriptions. Results indicate that Ss and astrologers scored at a level consistent with chance. The data support arguments against natal astrology as practiced by astrologers. (4 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)