Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Why Horoscopes Are Right

Astrologists claim that the alignment of the stars and planets during your birth dictate your personality. Many scientific studies disprove the link between astronomical bodies and personality, and yet horoscopes almost always ring true.

For example, through spying on your data, the robots of my website found out your horoscope:

You seek balance between your thoughts and emotions. You strive for beauty and harmony. Your priorities are friendship and appreciation. You’re largely artistic with a clear and logical mind. And although you’re usually easy going, you’re allergic to injustice.

Did my machines describe you well?

If so, you’ve been misled.

My analytics have no clue what your star sign or horoscope is.

The above description is a mishmash of different horoscopes I found on the internet.

The reason you probably (partly) recognised yourself in this image, is thanks to the Barnum-effect.

Which describes how people tend to identify with vague and general descriptions that apply to many.

The effect is named after P. T. Barnum, the American “mind reader” from the 19th century. And the theory was proven correct with a simple experiment.

Psychologist Bertram Forer gave his class a personality test, ignored his student’s answers and handed everyone the same result, that he copied from a horoscope.

Next, the students were asked to rate how close the results matched their self-image.

Out of five, the copied horoscope got an average of 4,26.

What does this—and many similar experiments like it—show?

That we have very little understanding of who we are.

English psychologist Susan Blackmore recently confirmed our lack of insight with a new experiment.

Being experienced with tarot cards, she gave ten people a tarot reading in silence. Once all the readings were done, she wrote an anonymous analysis for each of her guinea pigs and placed the writings on a table in a random order.

Next, her test subjects were asked to select the analysis that was theirs.

Nobody got it right.

Although horoscopes and tarot readings genuinely make people feel better, the power doesn’t lie in the wisdom of the words or cards, but in the beliefs that surround the rituals.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach