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Before we dive in, what exactly is astrology? First off, it shouldn’t be confused with astronomy; the scientific study of space, including all the objects in space like black holes, Mars, Saturn, dwarf stars, stars like Ryan Reynolds, and Matt Damon who seems to be stuck in space a lot. Astrology on the other hand is the study of the movements and relative positions of all the things in space called celestial bodies (like the sun, moon, stars and planets) and how this affects human affairs and the natural world also known as your fortune.
1) I will admit I love checking my horoscope. I mean, I feel like what they say is always like so me n stuff! but, with everyone else too. This is quite a generic and super general statement. Almost anyone with a pulse could look at this fortune and apply it to themselves. This is because Astrology takes advantage of the Forer Effect, thinking super vague general predictions apply specifically to you!
Psychologist Bertman R Forer conducted a test by giving a group of students a personality questionnaire; totally ignoring the student’s answers to the questions he gave each student the same generic evaluation. He then asked each student to rank the evaluation on a scale of 0-5 on how accurate it was, 5 as excellent, 0 as horrible. The class average was a 4.26! and this was done in 1948!! The exact test has been repeated hundreds of times with the result averaging around 4.2 or 84% accurate. The best part is that Forer actually used an astrology description for his test! What this tells us is that people do a great job, solid B range actually, of making sense out of experience that has very lose to no connectivity. Humans love to connect the dots and make our outside world make sense, even if were making sense out of non-sense. And what really drives this behavior home is that people tend to accept questionable, even false statements about ourselves if we deem them positive or flattering enough!
2) Astrology also falls victim to confirmation bias. Which is type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and look for what confirms their beliefs, while ignoring what contradicts them. This is also done totally independently regardless of the truthfulness or falsity of the information. So if your horoscope says you’re going to make great relationships this week, you’ll most likely be open to making new relationships, thus confirming your belief that this is your fate for the next seven days!.
Scientist Peter Wason tested this back in the 1960’s by asking subjects to guess the patterns of series of numbers. He found that most people tried to prove their hypothesis rather than falsify it. This was found to be the case, because as much as possible, people didn’t want break their own rules.
3) Astrology takes your birth month and makes predictions about your life sorta kinda based on the stars, moon, sun, and other planet. Some astrology sites claim the mechanism at work is caused by variations of UV light. However, there is little correlation to month and UV intensity as UV ray levels vary due to solar flares, changes in our ozone, and altitudes independently of the month. Also, how would sunscreen factor into this equation? Like if your parents put sunscreen on during pregnancy or you as new born this would completely destroy the mechanism and predictive power at work here.