I also asked the same question using the traits of Leo, Taurus, and Scorpio, adjectives which were in my estimation progressively less complimentary, and the average scores did indeed turn out to be 5. Each of these graphs has a nice, clear bell curve. It's clear that when you ask people, without any context, whether they feel they are better described by words which happen to be positive like Sagittarius' "optimistic and freedom-loving" , they tend to identify with those terms; but when you ask the same question with less positive words like Scorpio's "determined and forceful" there is less identification.
Armed with knowledge of this fairly obvious axiom, any astrologer should have no problem writing fortunes for just about anyone that will hit the mark 9 times out of In my survey, I also wanted to see how the results of these same questions might differ between people who are of that zodiac sign, from those who are not.
I took the negative qualities of a Libra indecisive and changeable, gullible and easily influenced, flirtatious and self-indulgent and asked Libras if they thought it represented them, and asked the same question of non-Libras. If there's anything to astrology, the Libras would have recognized their own weaknesses in those descriptions. But guess what; they didn't.
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Both groups reported an average of 2. This result was interesting, so I extended this line of investigation, and asked the same question again, but this time instead of using the zodiac sign's traits, I used randomly chosen readings from the Los Angeles Times horoscope.
Unpublished Study of Unaspected Planets (1975)
The first was for Capricorn, and it said:. The universe is sending out some muddled messages. Don't read too much into the signs.
If you have to stretch to figure out what something means, it's just because you're not meant to know yet. Neither Capricorns nor non-Capricorns felt that fortune applied to them much at all; the graphs look virtually identical with a big tall bar in the "Does not apply to me at all" column and only a smattering of results in the other two.
Astrologers say people born same time, same place should be more similar -- are they?
While that five percentage point difference may seem significant, it's below the 7. You can do more than instruct people. You can inspire them. You focus on a beautiful potential and describe it with the passion that gets others moving in the same direction. Grant a positive sounding fortune, and more people convince themselves it applies to them.
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But my little Twitter survey is hardly the first time anyone has tested astrology. Many, many studies have been done; and better the study, the less of an effect has been found. Dutch researcher Rob Nanninga wrote :. One of the best examples was conducted by the Australian researcher Dr.
Geoffrey Dean Dean selected 60 people with a very high introversion score and 60 people with a very high extraversion score. Next, he supplied 45 astrologers with the birth charts of these subjects. By analyzing the charts the astrologers tried to identify the extroverts from the introverts. The results were very disappointing. It was as if the astrologers had tossed coins to determine their choices.
Their average success rate was only He devised his own test in which seven people from diverse backgrounds filled out detailed questionnaires about themselves, and separately provided a list of the dates of important events in their lives.
Astrological Association of Great Britain
As a control, Nanninga also had a group of skeptics try to perform the same matches, to rule out successes based on subtle clues in the data. The astrologers were asked to indicate how many correct matches they would have expected Half of them predicted that they had matched all subjects with the correct charts.
Only six astrologers expected less than four hits. In fact, the most successful astrologer achieved only three correct matches, whereas half of the participants 22 did not score a single hit.
Geoffrey Dean (Capricorn)
The average number of hits was 0. Moreover, there was no evidence that the most experienced astrologers did any better than beginners. It is interesting to compare the entries of the participants with each other. Because they all had received the same information, one would expect many similar responses. Actually, the lack of agreement was striking. Each of the seven charts could be paired with seven questionnaires. Of these 49 possible combinations, none was selected more than twelve times. It was as if each astrologer had used a random generator to determine the correct matches.
Of the control skeptics, the most successful also scored three hits, the same as the best astrologer. In addition to his study referenced by Nanninga, Dr. But none of hundreds of investigations into its claims since has found anything to support them. The most damning of these studies was carried out by Dr Geoffrey Dean, an Australian scientist and former astrologer, and a Professor Ivan Kelly, a psychologist at the University of Saskatchewan 1.
The lives of more than 2, people born in London in the month of March were tracked. They had been born on average 4.
More than features of each person in the study -- such as IQ, anxiety, aggressiveness, musical ability, accident proneness and marital status were examined. According to the Dean and Kelly, "the test conditions could hardly have been more conducive to success. But the results are uniformly negative.
Dr Dean told the London Telegraph that this massive study of so-called "time twins" undermined the claims of astrologers, who normally work with birth data which is far less precise than the data he was working with 2.
Many of the claims made by astrologers are anecdotal. But Dean and Kelly reviewed more than 40 controlled studies -- and all of them found that astrologers cannot perform significantly better than chance. In 25 of these studies, astrologers were unable even to agree on how to interpret a birth chart. Not at all. In the words of British astrologer Roy Alexander, "I take it for granted that astrology works, and that we have enough cumulative experience to know that it works, whether the computer studies and the scientists agree with us or not.
In fact, some astrologers believe that their own mental state, or insight, is more important than the birth chart in interpreting your life. In other words, their work is a form of extra-sensory perception, or magical insight. Astrologers are latter-day medicine men seeking to divine the plans of the spirit world. Some even believe that successful astrologers conjure up spirit guides to gain access to hidden knowledge. However it works, astrology has lost none of its appeal. Interest in astrology is burgeoning.
A Harris poll in the United States found that 31 per cent of the public believed in astrology, including 36 per cent of women and 43 per cent of people between 25 and Dean and Kelly say that about 1 person in 10, in Western countries is practicing or seriously studying astrology. The internet is flooded with information on astrology. After pornography sites, it is said, astrology sites are the most visited sites on the internet. A growing number of astrologer-psychologists combines both occupations. Of course, people believe in a vast number of religions and philosophies whose premises they take on faith.
As such, astrology consists of testable assumptions: that it can predict future events in nature and in private lives, that the constellation of stars at your birth affects your personality, and so on. Geoffrey Dean, a scientist who wrote a two-part investigation of astrological claims for the biweekly Skeptical Inquirer, observes that two questions about astrology are often confused: Does it work?
Is it true?
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