Article

Belief in Astrology Inventory: Development and Validation

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Abstract

After the paper by Mayo, White, and Eysenck in 1978, a considerable number of papers studied the so-called sun-sign-effect predicted by astrology: people born with the sun in a positive sign are supposed to be extraverted, and those with the sun in a negative sign are supposed to be introverted. In these papers, researchers used ad hoc questionnaires with a few questions related to belief, knowledge, experience, or attitude toward astrology. However, an appropriate inventory with known psychometric properties has yet to be developed to assess the belief in astrology. In the present paper, the Belief in Astrology Inventory is presented with some psychometric data. The participants were 743 undergraduates studying Psychology and Social Sciences at a university in Spain. Correlation of scores on Belief in Astrology and Extraversion was small but significant (r = .22; r2 = .04) for positive sun-sign participants. This value accounts for negligible common variance. Women had significandy higher scores on the inventory than men.

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... researchers have found a relationship between extraversion and Sun sign (Gauquelin, Gauquelin, & Eysenck, 1979, 1981Jackson, 1979;Mayo, White, & Eysenck, 1978;Smithers & Cooper, 1978;Van Rooij, 1994;Van Rooij, Brak, & Commandeur, 1988), others found no association between astrologically derived personality profiles and scores on psychometric personality measures (Carlson, 1985;Clarke, Gabriels, & Barnes, 1996;Hartmann, Reuter, & Nyborg, 2006;Hentschel & Kiessling, 1985;Hume & Goldstein, 1977;Jackson & Fiebert, 1980;Mayes & Klugh, 1978;Russell & Wagstaff, 1983;Saklofske, Kelly, & McKerracher, 1982;Silverman & Whitner, 1974;Startup, 1985;Tyson, 1977;Veno & Pamment, 1979). Positive associations have been found between belief in astrology and high extraversion (Eliseo & Urbano, 2006;Shaughnessy, Neely, Manz, & Nystul, 1990), and with being female (Eliseo & Urbano, 2006). Searches of the scientific literature of relationships between personality characteristics and Oriental year of birth revealed one study (Dalhstrom, Hopkins, Dalhstrom, Jackson, & Cumella, 1996) that found no evidence to support any association. ...
... researchers have found a relationship between extraversion and Sun sign (Gauquelin, Gauquelin, & Eysenck, 1979, 1981Jackson, 1979;Mayo, White, & Eysenck, 1978;Smithers & Cooper, 1978;Van Rooij, 1994;Van Rooij, Brak, & Commandeur, 1988), others found no association between astrologically derived personality profiles and scores on psychometric personality measures (Carlson, 1985;Clarke, Gabriels, & Barnes, 1996;Hartmann, Reuter, & Nyborg, 2006;Hentschel & Kiessling, 1985;Hume & Goldstein, 1977;Jackson & Fiebert, 1980;Mayes & Klugh, 1978;Russell & Wagstaff, 1983;Saklofske, Kelly, & McKerracher, 1982;Silverman & Whitner, 1974;Startup, 1985;Tyson, 1977;Veno & Pamment, 1979). Positive associations have been found between belief in astrology and high extraversion (Eliseo & Urbano, 2006;Shaughnessy, Neely, Manz, & Nystul, 1990), and with being female (Eliseo & Urbano, 2006). Searches of the scientific literature of relationships between personality characteristics and Oriental year of birth revealed one study (Dalhstrom, Hopkins, Dalhstrom, Jackson, & Cumella, 1996) that found no evidence to support any association. ...
... Our study is consistent with Shaughnessy et al.'s (1990) and Eliseo and Urbano's (2006) findings that higher extraversion scores are associated with belief in astrology. The finding that females reported significantly higher scores than males on belief in astrology also supports Eliseo and Urbano's findings. ...
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Despite widespread cynicism, many people believe that astrology influences individual temperament or personality. The scientific literature on personality and astrological Sun sign published over the last four decades shows varied results. This study explored the basis for such beliefs using a balanced design incorporating age and astrological belief as covariates. One thousand, nine hundred and sixty-seven Australians aged between 28 and 51 completed a Web-based survey. Personality was assessed using a 50-item version of the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP). While previous findings on age and belief in astrology were confirmed, no significant effects for the influence of either astrological Sun sign or Oriental year of birth were found. No Yes
... Many twentieth and twenty-first century scientists have shown an interest in astrology (see Chico & Lorenzo-Seva, 2006;Dean & Kelly, 2003;Dean, Nias & French, 1997;Ertel & Dean, 1996;Eysenck & Nias, 1982;Hamilton, 2001;Hartmann, Reuter & Nyborg, 2006;Kelly, 1997Kelly, , 1998Mayo, White & Eysenck, 1978;Perry, 1995;Tyson, 1984;Van Rooij, 1994, 1999. This specific study takes into account those researchers who were interested in and focused on personality differences between individuals born under different star signs (see Hartmann, Reuter & Nyborg, 2006;Eysenck & Nias, 1982;Mayo, White & Eysenck, 1978;Van Rooij, 1994, 1999. ...
... (1982), they debate the matter in further detail, with some results confirming Gauquelin's findings, whilst others seem to negate these findings. This ambivalence, as well as the research stated earlier (see Chico & Lorenzo-Seva, 2006;Dean & Kelly, 2003;Dean, Nias & French, 1997;Ertel & Dean, 1996;Eysenck & Nias, 1982;Hamilton, 2001;Hartmann, Reuter & Nyborg, 2006;Kelly, 1997Kelly, , 1998Mayo, White & Eysenck, 1978;Perry, 1995;Tyson, 1984;Van Rooij, 1994, 1999, surprisingly suggests that psychology-as a discipline that forms part of the scientific community-has not yet reached consensus in its stance towards astrology. ...
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Psychology has always been vulnerable to fads, producing its share of psychological movements and therapeutic cults that blur the borderline between science and non-science. It is important for sociologists and other scholars who study the social life of scientists and intellectuals to engage with the content of ideas and to take conflicts about scientific legitimacy seriously. This research examines a debate regarding scientific legitimacy in a qualitative case study informed by Frickel and Gross's general theory of scientific/intellectual movements. The focus will be positive psychology's emergence at the end of the last decade and its failure to persuade the wider psychology community of its necessity due to its use of aggressive framing strategies. Understanding how positive psychology works to establish itself as value-free, objective science, while desiring to be perceived as relevant to the public contributes to discussions about framing and boundaries in science.
... Many twentieth and twenty-first century scientists have shown an interest in astrology (see Chico & Lorenzo-Seva, 2006;Dean & Kelly, 2003;Dean, Nias & French, 1997;Ertel & Dean, 1996;Eysenck & Nias, 1982;Hamilton, 2001;Hartmann, Reuter & Nyborg, 2006;Kelly, 1997Kelly, , 1998Mayo, White & Eysenck, 1978;Perry, 1995;Tyson, 1984;Van Rooij, 1994, 1999. This specific study takes into account those researchers who were interested in and focused on personality differences between individuals born under different star signs (see Hartmann, Reuter & Nyborg, 2006;Eysenck & Nias, 1982;Mayo, White & Eysenck, 1978;Van Rooij, 1994, 1999. ...
... (1982), they debate the matter in further detail, with some results confirming Gauquelin's findings, whilst others seem to negate these findings. This ambivalence, as well as the research stated earlier (see Chico & Lorenzo-Seva, 2006;Dean & Kelly, 2003;Dean, Nias & French, 1997;Ertel & Dean, 1996;Eysenck & Nias, 1982;Hamilton, 2001;Hartmann, Reuter & Nyborg, 2006;Kelly, 1997Kelly, , 1998Mayo, White & Eysenck, 1978;Perry, 1995;Tyson, 1984;Van Rooij, 1994, 1999, surprisingly suggests that psychology-as a discipline that forms part of the scientific community-has not yet reached consensus in its stance towards astrology. ...
Article
Astrological information often appears in newspapers and magazines. This suggests that there are readers who may believe that their birthdates relate to astrology and that this phenomenon influences their everyday lives. Many scientists, particularly psychologists, have attempted to link astrological signs with personality traits on an empirical level. The results have often been ambivalent and sometimes even controversial. Scientific evidence generally indicates that zodiac star positions do not influence different personalities. The study of planetary alignment, however, seems more complex. Results in this field often involve smaller research groups, are more difficult to interpret, and can therefore be considered as ambivalent. In this specific study a large group of 65 268 job seekers was assessed by means of a personality questionnaire, the so-called Basic Traits Inventory. The personality traits of four groups of individuals (N = 49, N = 48, N = 39, N = 36) were compared. The groups differed from each other in that all the members of a specific group shared the same planetary alignment and zodiac sign. Chronological age, as a mediator, was not taken into account as the individuals were all born in the same year (1983). No significant differences in personality traits between the groups were found. The results of this study confirm that neither zodiac star signs, nor planetary alignments, influence personality. This affirms, through scientific investigation, that astrology should be seen for what it is; namely an outmoded, archaic belief system based on mythological assumptions.
... While a number of subsequent studies confirmed their findings (e.g., Fuzeau-Braesch, 1997;Jackson, 1979;Smithers & Cooper, 1978), several scholars indeed found that the relationship observed was driven by self-attribution. As an example, van Rooij (1994) shows that aforementioned personality differences can only be observed among individuals with prior knowledge about astrology, a result which mirrors the findings of Eysenck (1981) as well as the later studies by Hamilton (1995) and Chico and Lorenzo-Seva (2006). ...
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This study failed to replicate the findings of Mayo et al. (1978), that individuals' astrological Sun signs are associated with extraversion and neuroticism scores on the EPI. These negative findings could have been due to the controls employed here for the subjects' belief in astrology and for subject self-selection. Additional controls for the effects of knowledge of Sun sign on self-reports revealed that the zodiacal locations of the Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars are also not associated with reported extraversion and neuroticism.
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The present study replicated the study by Mayo, White and Eysenck (1978; Journal of Social Psychology, 105, 229–236) that confirmed the astrological proposition that people born with the sun in a positive sign (Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius) are extraverted and those with the sun in a negative sign (Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces) are introverted. This result was indeed found, but only with subjects who had astrological knowledge. As an explanation a process of self-attribution is suggested. Furthermore, it proved that this self-attribution effect is strengthened when subjects receive a cue that the study pertains to astrology. Finally it proved that subjects with the sun in a positive sign are especially susceptible to such a cue. Though the validity of astrology itself could not be demonstrated, it is concluded that astrology may have a profound influence on people's self-concept, due to psychological processes like self-attribution and selective self-observation.
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The process of self-attribution is an important factor in the development of beliefs in the validity of presented personality descriptions. Hamilton (2001) proposed that the relative favourableness of astrologically derived personality descriptions is a moderator variable for long-term self-attribution effects based on knowledge of the astrological sun-sign symbolism. Because the sets of traits associated with some sun-signs are thought to be more favourable than those of other sun-signs, she predicts that natives born under a more favourable sign should show a stronger belief in astrology than subjects born under less favourable signs. To test this hypothesis, we studied 1700 German subjects, to see if their belief in astrology varied with respect to their sun-sign. But the mean belief scores were almost exactly the same for all sign groups, providing strong evidence against Hamilton's hypothesis. It is proposed that the conflicting empirical findings of Hamilton (2001) are probably artefacts of the experimental setting, and not long-term effects of self-attribution.
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Participants judged contemporary personality descriptions of odd-numbered astrological Sun signs to be more favorable than descriptions of even-numbered signs. Those born with the Sun in an odd-numbered sign expressed more belief in astrology than those born under an even-numbered Sun sign. These findings suggest that one determinant of acceptance of astrology is the favorableness of the character analysis it offers. Implications for previous research on belief in astrology are discussed.
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In view of certain psychometric deficiencies of the original Psychoticism scale, an attempt was made to improve the scale by adding new items. It was attempted to increase the internal reliability of the scale, improve the shape of the distribution and increase the mean and variance score. Two different studies are discussed. Reliabilities are now somewhat improved, distributions are closer to normal and mean scores are higher than on the old scale. Four new short 12-item scales for the measurement of P, E, N and L are also given.
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The aim of this study was to determine whether variations in Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) scoring among zodiacal birth groups follow a similar pattern for Ss born in the Southern hemisphere to that which has been reported for Northern hemisphere Ss. EPI and birth data were obtained from 450 adult Ss, of whom 338 were New Zealand born. Results for Extraversion significantly matched British findings (p less than .01). Results for Neuroticism were ambiguous. It is concluded that seasonal and climatic influences are unlikely to explain the Extraversion differences between birth groups.
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Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is one of the most widely used statistical procedures in psychological research. It is a classic technique, but statistical research into EFA is still quite active, and various new developments and methods have been presented in recent years. The authors of the most popular statistical packages, however, do not seem very interested in incorporating these new advances. We present the program FACTOR, which was designed as a general, user-friendly program for computing EFA. It implements traditional procedures and indices and incorporates the benefits of some more recent developments. Two of the traditional procedures implemented are polychoric correlations and parallel analysis, the latter of which is considered to be one of the best methods for determining the number of factors or components to be retained. Good examples of the most recent developments implemented in our program are (1) minimum rank factor analysis, which is the only factor method that allows one to compute the proportion of variance explained by each factor, and (2) the simplimax rotation method, which has proved to be the most powerful rotation method available. Of these methods, only polychoric correlations are available in some commercial programs. A copy of the software, a demo, and a short manual can be obtained free of charge from the first author.
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