• Question: Do you believe our personalities are actually decided by astrology and star signs?

    Asked by anon-283830 on 27 Mar 2021.
    • Photo: Alex Baxendale

      Alex Baxendale answered on 8 Mar 2021:

      Hello! Definitely not! Our personalities are learned from the environment around us, and our biology. Areas of our brain that process emotions influence our personality, having the area that makes us respond to things with anger be damaged which could make us an angry person,but we don’t really have any control over that. The environment around us can consist of things like our parents, friends, the country and town/city we live in, and the things we like to do as a hobby! We can learn from people around us what kind of things we should say, and how we say it, our willingness to follow rules can come about by how our parents and society teaches us to follow them, or our friends can introduce us to a new book that influences our personality.
      Planets and stars that are moving around us affect us in no meaningful way, they are just big balls of rock, metal and gas millions and millions of miles away from us that do their own thing, and because these things are so far away they have likely happened years and years ago but we haven’t seen them until just now! A person might find the idea of astrology interesting and learn all about it, and this idea could become a part of a person’s personality, but the actual movement of stars are so far removed from how we develop as people that there is no evidence at all that they do anything.

    • Photo: anon

      anon answered on 8 Mar 2021:

      Hi Leah,
      In science we go with the evidence and not belief – for that reason I am strongly against these ideas as legitimate claims of personality development as there is no evidence whatsoever.
      I agree with Alex, so won’t say the same things, but I would like to add from a psychological perspective how interesting these theories are and what it says about us as humans for the strange and occult.
      I think it’s something silly like 70 million Americans read their horoscopes daily and 25% of them also believe that the stars effect our daily lives. I am so intrigued as to why people would think this! It says a lot about us as humans wanting to understand behaviour, but why people don’t turn to science for this is sometimes a bit beyond me – but perhaps I am jaded as a scientist and stuck in my ways of thinking! But what is fundamental from all of us is a desire to understand who we are, where we come from and why we do what we do – perhaps some find comfort and answers from these things, me, not so much!

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 8 Mar 2021: last edited 8 Mar 2021 6:53 pm

      Hi leah. There’s no scientific evidence that astrology or horoscopes can influence someone’s personality. But there’s a psychological explanation as to why people believe in horoscopes. It’s called Barnum effect. It’s the psychological phenomenon that explains why people believe in generalised personality descriptions as if they are accurate descriptions of their personality or their fate. For example, if you read on horoscope: ‘You’re going to be lucky today. But you will also have serious doubts about your decision.’ – These are very general and vague statements that you can interpret any way you want. So most likely, people can find a way to attribute it to their own personality and experience.

      I have a Chinese and Filipino heritage. The Chinese side of my family believes in all sorts of lucky charms. Our Chinese culture has lots of these. Think about the Year of the Dog, Year of the Pig, etc. in Chinese calendar. They say that if you’re born in a specific year, you’re likely to have a particular personality. Think also of feng shui (planning how you arrange your house to attract good fortune). Many Chinese people would believe horoscopes, astrology, and feng shui. Filipinos are also fatalistic (one’s choices and actions make no difference). Many Filipinos believe in horoscopes and lucky charms. In a country that gets lots of earthquakes, typhoons, and flooding – belief in horospcopes, astrology, a divine being – has some sort of purpose. In positive psychology, that’s what we call meaning-making.
      Let me just share to you some life experiences. On one of my travels in Cambodia, a Buddhist monk gave me a lucky charm as a gift. He said it will protect me from danger. Do I believe him? No. But to this day, I still keep the lucky charm that the Buddhist monk gave me. On one of my travels in Thailand, an old woman offered to do a palm reading for me. She said: I will be so-and-so by the time I reach a certain age. Do I believe her? No. But to this day, I still have her picture with me which reminds me of her warmth. A Catholic nun in the Philippines also gave me a rosary before I came to Britain in 2013 (for good luck, she said).
      Personally, I don’t believe in horoscopes or astrology – I don’t even believe in a god. As a psychologist, I would share with people the psychological explanation why people are likely believe in these things but as another human being, I would not pass judgement about where they find comfort and meaning in their lives. As a human being, I would rather be respectful than correct.

    • Photo: Lisa Orchard

      Lisa Orchard answered on 8 Mar 2021:

      Hi Leah. I think star signs and astrology are a lot of fun, but they don’t tell us about our personalities – other than that those who believe in their horoscope may be of a different personality to others! The Barnum Effect talks about how some individuals may be more susceptible to accepting vague statements about themselves. 🙂

    • Photo: Harry Piper

      Harry Piper answered on 9 Mar 2021:

      Hi! Definitely not! If high quality scientific evidence were presented following a study that could provide evidence for this, then yes, I would be willing to rethink my position, until that time, definitely not!