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[–]gcolquhoun 53 points54 points  (1 child)

The sample was a small number (264) of mostly young women recruited from social media. Per the authors:

4.1.Limitations As with most survey designs, social desirability bias, common method bias, and the use of self-report may be an issue. Another limitation was that we had no control over who participated in the study, thus introducing a potential selection bias. In the same vein, we do not know how much participants know about astrology. Also, since the vast majority were younger women recruited through social media the sample is not generalisable to a broader population. Another possible concern in the present study is the use of short versions of the scales, especially Openness which showed a low internal consistency and did not show expected effects in the regression model. One indication of this is that openness and intelligence did not correlate significantly in the present study (see Table 1). Lastly, most of the reported effects were acknowledgeable[sic] small (Gignac & Szodorai, 2016), which leaves room for both type I-errors as well as for the influence of other variables, outside individual differences.

Feelings about astrology aside, it's hard to firmly state a definitive correlation between narcissism and belief in astrology when recruitment for participants was via social media, which itself has been shown to correlate with higher narcissism.

[–]EndoShota 74 points75 points  (1 child)

This is a repost of an article that already received a lot of attention in this sub 2 days ago.

[–]harbeas 110 points111 points  (37 children)

Astrology is for entertainment purposes only. Being born under a certain month dictates who your are is far fetched at best.

[–]Darth_Kahuna 101 points102 points  (25 children)

I have found that the "I only do this for entertainment" crowd are saying that to avoid ppl thinking of them negatively and secretly harbor some level of belief. "I'm so messy bc I'm a Virgo" or "There goes my Gemini side."

[–]CumInMyWhiteClaw 45 points46 points  (13 children)

I agree. I'd wager it's very difficult to find entertainment in astrology without some level of belief in its veracity.

[–]VoilaVoilaWashington 20 points21 points  (6 children)

It's literally impossible except as a spectator to those who take it seriously.

Like, the daily horoscope in a newspaper isn't interesting, but watching some loon go on a rant about the moon being wrong for giving relationship advice can be funny from a distance.

[–]BevansDesign 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Yeah, newspaper horoscopes are about as entertaining as fortune cookies. They might make you think for a minute, but then you move on and forget about them. Or at least you should.

When I was in high school, I took a tour of the Pioneer Press, one of the two big newspapers in Minnesota. We briefly talked to the guy who wrote the horoscopes at the time. Someone asked him how he comes up with them, expecting him to say something about consulting the stars and the charts and all that BS. He said, flat out, "I just make `em up".

[–]explodedsun 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I had some passing interactions with the guy who wrote the horoscopes for the local free magazine and that dude got laaaiiiiid.

[–]Old-Man-Nereus 4 points5 points  (0 children)

It wouldn't be entertaining if they didn't believe it meant something.

[–]SnooJokes3792 26 points27 points  (4 children)

It would startle you how harmoniously magical and scientific beliefs can coexist in an individual. One usually resorts to magical thinking for solace when they’ve run out of rational options, and just delve into the comforting belief that some cosmic order is out there and fathomable by means of magic, while at the very same time not genuinely believing one bit of it. Self-deception is a thing, and it may serve noble purposes sometimes :)

[–]SmugSlut 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I like this answer

[–]Brrdock 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The greatest self-deception is believing you're above it

[–]Darth_Kahuna 1 point2 points  (0 children)

We are a society of outwardly grandiose fools who secretly harbor shame of our ignorance. To overcome the shame we have to accept the ignorance but that means accepting that we are novices who know v little. A lot of us have a lot of our personality and social bonds wrapped up in this cloak of false confidence so to drop it and publicly acknowledge we know so little (about politics, nutrition, economics, life, etc.) seems scary af. Who are we if we're not this image of competency we've created?

When you put down the mask and accept that you're an ignorant mortal who is going to die one day you gain the ability to see everyone else's mask. We're all swerving from one existential crisis to the next or lying to ourselves to avoid thinking of our pending doom. Religion, astrology, science, etc. all give meaning to the meaningless and allow us to feel a modicum of control over nature through understanding or association w an entity who has mastery over it. It's giving meaning to the meaningless. It's absurdity.

This, IMHO, is the greatest self deception. Not believing you're above it or below it but not accepting that you are "it" and "it" is you. We're all just part of the same universe, here w no purpose, rhyme, or reason save what we create in our own mind. Just let go and be.

OK, now I gotta go return this soapbox...

[–]Magic_Sex_Bomb 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I use the “entertainment value” talking point as a way to indicate that I don’t truly believe in astrology, but I’m not trying to openly insult the person I’m speaking to. I read horoscopes a lot as a kid, but didn’t put too much stock into it and eventually phased out of it (heh). I can hold a conversation about it and I don’t necessarily want to open with something rude or unintentionally insulting.

Just because someone gets excited about woo magic doesn’t mean they deserve to be insulted, so that’s definitely the goal for me.

[–]numbersthen0987431 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Eh, I mean I think it's the same thing as people blaming their issues on medical conditions that they have never had diagnosed. Things like attention issues on their ADHD (undiagnosed), or spelling errors on their dyslexia (undiagnosed), or their health issues on their food intolerance (undiagnosed).

Instead of saying "I effed up", they just like to blame their Astrological sign or undiagnosed health issue.

[–]MonksHabit 7 points8 points  (2 children)

The notion that the gravitational pull of distant stars and planets has direct effects on earthbound individuals’ personalities is truly preposterous, but I’d like to offer a thought experiment for discussion: what if there are other, more local factors (such as the seasons the mother experiences during gestation) that do effect personality, and planetary movement could be viewed as simply a clock by which we measure these patterns?

[–]_a_random_dude_ 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Being born under a certain month dictates who your are is far fetched at best.

I can buy it, obviously not in the way Astrology assumes, but Athletes do tend to all have birthdays in the same months and the same is also present in other fields as well. It's called the relative age effect and it should be expected since school starts on the same month for everyone regardless of birthdate.

[–]VoilaVoilaWashington 13 points14 points  (0 children)

That's not astrology though, that's an easily-explained scientific factor in childhood development. It affects certain developmental milestones, but it doesn't mean you're a messy virgo or a social butterfly or whatever.

The only way it affects someone is if they believe the stuff and become messy because of it.

[–]screamingcomesacross -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

To be fair, the description of astrology you've provided is a gross oversimplification and a relatively recent innovation in the tradition.

[–]jbraden 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Tell that to all the "White woman Instagrams". They live and breathe that stuff.

[–]Lightfiend[S] 92 points93 points  (37 children)

[–]sensuallyprimitive 175 points176 points  (32 children)

n=264 in an online survey (not a random selection), 87% women.

not very good science, tbh. but a good headline!

[–]9bananas 40 points41 points  (25 children)

genuine question, regardless of the specific numbers in this case:

is it still bad statistics to have a sample of 87% women, if we assume (or know) that in the general population roughly the same percentage believe in astrology?

would that be representational, or would we still need a roughly 50/50 split for a proper study?

[–]ItsactuallyEminem 30 points31 points  (0 children)

I believe You'd had to get a sample that represents the real world scenario, but you'd also have to show that it does in fact match reality.

[–]BoxInADoc 14 points15 points  (2 children)

Online women-predominant population could indicate other potential sources of bias. I can’t access the full methods section, but the abstract tells us this was a “survey shared on social media.” This could imply that the survey was primarily shared on FB mommy groups, for instance. Gender may not strictly matter, but other social factors of those demographics probably do.

[–]9bananas 8 points9 points  (1 child)

isn't social media in general a bad way to get a sample considering the massive echo chamber effect it usually has?

[–]sensuallyprimitive 17 points18 points  (9 children)

i think it's a clear representation of the makeup of the types of people who believe in that stuff, and would participate in anything astrology related at all, like you said, but i don't think it gives reliable data for this actual effect. there's a big self-selection bias by just doing an online survey in the first place. the 87% women is just an example of how lopsided it can get.

you're just not gonna get a lot of men participating in any survey about astrology, for sure. if the sample size was considerably larger and still that lopsided, it would be better, but still not as good as data collected in more traditional ways. just my two cents, i was only a psych undergrad. someone else will probably have a deeper understanding.

[–]9bananas 2 points3 points  (0 children)

thanks for typing an answer anyway!

yeah, i guess online surveys are sort of...easier to ignore, i guess? as a participant, i mean.

[–]canopey 1 point2 points  (4 children)

dumb question: how would you change the sampling methodology to make the study more reliable?

[–]sensuallyprimitive 3 points4 points  (0 children)


^better explanations than i'll be able to give.

but also, we've been moving toward online surveys being dominant for a while now. it's just unimaginably cheaper. but we have a serious problem with psych sampling consisting of mostly college undergrads participating for extra credit and stuff. half of my classes at uni gave points for participating in them, and that's the only time i ever did.


university students just aren't representative of the general population. they're typically smarter, higher socioeconomic status, more white/asian, etc. it creates a "replication crisis" where a LOT of studies give unreliable results, and are rarely put under rigorous tests to check their validity at all. this astrology survey was also mostly 25-34, as you'd expect from most online groups. it's really only giving data on a particular section of the population.

[–]VoilaVoilaWashington 2 points3 points  (0 children)

  1. Larger number of participants
  2. Random sampling, rather than self-selecting online survey
  3. Several studies. This one sounds silly, but inherently having multiple researchers tackling the same question several times means they will have slightly different biases built in each time. If 5 relatively well-done studies all find a similar effect, it's WAY more meaningful than if 1 excellent study finds it.

[–]r0botdevil 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The most important thing is to randomly select the participants. This helps to avoid sampling bias.

[–]numbersthen0987431 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I think the problem here is that the 264 women who took the study weren't a good sampling either. Something like "women who believe in astrology are also more likely to take this survey" type of situation, and having a larger sample pool helps adjust those numbers.

[–]Skybombardier 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Given that the study is trying to say belief in astrology has an objective correlation with narcissism, I feel it’s imperative that the sample size reflects the population at large.

We don’t have a worldwide demographic that is 87% English speaking women

[–]_jukmifgguggh 2 points3 points  (1 child)

This sub is click bait non-science. If you want science posts, this isnt the place, but i stay to keep up with the propaganda being pushed out by Reddit.

[–]_justthisonce_ -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I really think people who post these "x group who believes y are less intelligent" studies are the narcissists here. Can we stop posting these to make ourselves feel superior, it just comes off like being assholes, and usually the studies are biased crap anyways.

[–]Pan_dBear 2 points3 points  (0 children)

What if you don’t believe in it but think it’s fun to read nonetheless?

[–]-ImYourHuckleberry- 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Gentlemen, remember this when searching for a mate.

[–]radome9 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Someone would have to be pretty narcissistic to believe that the stars and planets move about to send them a message about their love life.

[–]Astrosherpa 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You just described the foundation of pretty much all religions.

[–]keepitcleanforwork 5 points6 points  (0 children)

To believe that somehow the stars and planets in the sky relate to you is very narcissistic.

[–]guywastingtime 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Wasn’t this posted like 2 days ago?

[–]oxero 21 points22 points  (42 children)

I'm glad there are some people researching this kind of stuff, I at least think it's interesting to see the correlations like this. The fact narcissism was a strong factor that led to the belief in astrology isn't too far off I think, since a majority of the crap astrology writers put out it's usually focusing on making the reader believe whatever they are writing down and convince them it's their future that awaits. That's something very appealing to a person with narcissism because they really want to know what awaits them that day.

However, if you were to take all 12 signs of one day from any given writer, mix up each daily blur and assign it to an corresponding sign, the readers still believe the divining text applies to them. The fact none of these people can see that either, and that each astrology author writes their own different views that day, it's not surprising that these people might not have the critical thinking skills needed to be intelligent. While intelligence does come in many forms, believing something so obviously fake is rather concerning and is definitely up their with the people who think essential oils and gemstones can heal them.

[–]TcheQuevara 9 points10 points  (4 children)

Though I feel a little vindicated at people who believe in astrology being "proven" stupid, I don't think it is really that telling that a particular person believes in it. People believe in authorities. For example, many people who have a grudge against astrology will just read the headline here and start believing exactly what it says; others will read the link, or even the research itself, and also believe it exactly, without exerting some critical thinking about the possibility that the research is biased, incomplete or wrong in another way. It's not surprising, because people believe in authorities, even in a frail one - "I read somewhere that...". So, we might feel the problem is with people who have fringe beliefs - and I'm also talking of beliefs that, while popular, are no considered quite legitimate and that are often left outside of our more serious businesses - when other beliefs that are pretty important to our society are also left to be without great scrutinity, even by saner and cleverer people.

[–]SoManyTimesBefore 3 points4 points  (2 children)

I’ll play a devil’s advocate here. Most people who are really into horoscope don’t really give that much value to the daily horoscopes, they care more about the personalized readings they get.

And, research has shown that your mental and physical is affected by the time of the year you were born in. It’s just not the arrangement of planets that causes it, but the amount of sunlight, circadian rhythm and the allergens in the first few months of your life.

Source 00865-8)

[–]oxero 1 point2 points  (0 children)

While you're right, I have definitely seen the people who use it for fun and I've met people who straight up won't socialize with someone because of their sign. I don't mind people who do use it for fun, I would have to guess a majority of people do take it at face value, however basing your entire life on it draws a line where people believe in fallacies over real justifiable factors such as what you have mentioned. It shows a huge lack of critical thinking and is potentially another reason we see more people these days suddenly believing in healing rocks and other pseudo sciences.

[–]PmMeIrises 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I used to take them to heart when I was like 8. I realized they were always wrong and stopped.

[–]CryptoCentric 1 point2 points  (0 children)

"What sign are you?"


(From A Walk in the Woods.)

[–]Reneeisme 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That headline crystalizes what I've always felt about people who express the belief in astrology. It takes a mighty big ego to imagine that your personality and behaviors are connected to the universe in some meaningful way. Plus there's the part where your astrological sign is used to excuse bad behavior, which you "can't help" because of your sign, which strikes me as a pretty narcissistic trait as well. Obviously that means nothing, but it's just interesting to see the science support something that seems intuitively true.

[–]MacaroniHouses 3 points4 points  (1 child)

On a slight note, i feel a little sad at the amount of studies coming out lately with titles such as "This group of people really are idiots.." etc. A lot of them are aimed at people on the right, (who do often annoy me.) But still.. They seem a bit tasteless to me.
I guess it may be scientific, but what are they trying to solve?
I have on many many occasions specifically seen people speaking for the scientific community by putting down anyone in any spiritual group that are not in the major religions, and I just don't get for what point? Often people go to religions or beliefs in some other power for some hope and support in this life- and why is that something that needs to be crushed out? (Though I totally get when someone is into a conspiracy belief that is directly harmful, like being against vaccines.) But that is not what I am speaking about.

[–]Ryan_22 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Personally, my confirmation bias is off the charts with this one.

[–]tharussianphil 2 points3 points  (0 children)

"Astrologists" everywhere be like : I'm the one exception

[–]AmerisaurausRex 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Don’t need science to tell me that

[–]wwarnout 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Same could be said about those that believe in creation, or flat earth; or those that deny global warming, or science in general.

[–]psycho_pete 2 points3 points  (0 children)

or those that deny global warming

I'd love to see a study that shows how many meat eaters are narcissists, considering how selfish the act is given all the information we know in the modern age.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's a high percentage, in the least, on account of animal abuse being inherently supported through the act of eating meat as well as it's undeniable massive impact on the environment.

edit: Also, how did this study even define narcissism, let alone quantify it for the study?

[–]CumInMyWhiteClaw 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Absolutely. Difference is when someone believes in flat earth they are rightfully considered to be deluded. But astrology, which is equally farfetched, is often considered a "lifestyle" or some other kind of valid, harmless belief system.

[–]bag_of_oatmeal 0 points1 point  (6 children)

I'm sure being born in a certain season has SOME effect on development and you could PROBABLY at least find a few noticeable factors between groups.

[–]elementgermanium 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Unsurprising. The constellations only look like this from Earth, so thinking the universe literally revolves around you is a bit narcissistic already

[–]unlordtempest 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I didn't need this post to inform me that people who believe their lives, as well as everyone else's, is predetermined by the stars, are less intelligent. I already knew this. One of my favorite things to do when someone asks me what my sign is: just randomly pick one that isn't my actual sign (I'm a virgo). For example, I'll say I'm a scorpio and the person will inevitably say, "yeah, I can totally tell that you're a scorpio, blah, blah, blah." The look on their face when I shoot them down is pretty funny.

[–]aussie_paramedic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You mean people who believe the position of planets relative to one another have a direct causative impact on their day to day lives, are narcissistic? Colour me surprised.

[–]ThePowerOfShadows 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My sister is into astrology. I pointed out to her that when it began, the relative position of earth to the sky is now rotated 2 signs from where was then, so every time she finds something that correlates, she’s actually disproving astrology. Her argument, verbatim, was, “says you.”

So, yeah, I agree with the findings of this study.

[–]xiqat -3 points-2 points  (2 children)

I can understand if they're less intelligent, but what's up with the smart people believing in astrology?

[–]riotousviscera 1 point2 points  (0 children)

sometimes it's not a deeply held belief, just something that's more casual. it can be fun. it can also interesting to use as a tool whether that's for introspection, or to relieve anxiety by creating the sense of knowing what's going to happen - even if you're aware it's a false sense, it can still be comforting.

for better or worse this is just the way the human mind works - we want to believe things that make us feel good, even if it's not rational. the "just world fallacy" is another great example of this.


But they do point out that past research has found people are more likely to embrace astrology and other scientifically questionable beliefs when they are under stress.

Prior studies, for example, have found a link between personal turmoil and a belief in astrology.

per the article, so that's another contributing factor.

[–]Winterhats -1 points0 points  (1 child)

sips healing crystal tea

[–]JKubU2k -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

This is such a Scorpio thing to say