People who subscribe to astrology and horoscopes tend to be more narcissistic and less intelligent, a new study has revealed.
Psychologists from Lund University surveyed more than 250 people about their beliefs in astrology and their personality profiles.
They found that those with strong beliefs scored more highly in narcissism, but lower in intelligence.
However, they also found that belief in horoscopes was linked to traits of agreeableness and extroversion.
Narcissists may be more susceptible to horoscopes because they are more ‘fact-resistant’ and find the positive framing appeals to their grandiosity, the team said.
People who subscribe to astrology and horoscopes tend to be less intelligent and more narcissistic than their counterparts who don’t believe in the pseudoscience (stock image)
THE BIG FIVE PERSONALITY TRAITS
The ‘Big Five’ personality traits are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
This personality framework theory uses these descriptors to outline the broad dimensions of people’s personality and psyche.
Beneath each category is a number of isolated and correlated factors.
The study was undertaken by psychologist Petri Kajonius of Sweden’s Lund University and his colleagues.
‘Astrology is increasing in popularity, despite the lack of scientific support,’ the researchers wrote in their paper.
‘It is not clear why this ancient practice of studying positions and movements of celestial bodies — with the conviction that they influence human behaviour — is going through a revival.’
Dr Kajonius and his colleagues wanted to see if a belief in astrology was associated with any particular personality trait.
They recruited 264 people via social media and had them complete a series of questionnaires.
The first explored the extent to which each participant believed in astronomy and whether they understood it to be supported by scientific research.
Subsequent questions provided a general personality assessment — according to the ‘Big Five’ taxonomy — along with specific tests for levels of intelligence and narcissistic traits.
The team undertook a general personality assessment of each of their subjects according to the ‘Big Five’ taxonomy — which considers openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Separate tests assessed intelligence and narcissism
‘The main result showed that the higher the narcissism, perhaps surprisingly, the higher the belief in astrology,’ the researchers wrote.
Conceding that further research will be needed to explore the reasons behind this association, the team do have a few hypotheses that may explain their findings.
Since astrological predictions and horoscopes tend to be positively framed, this reinforces grandiose feelings — and thus might appeal even more to narcissists,’ they explained.
Alongside this, they noted, ‘narcissistic traits correlated with the belief that astrology is supported by science , which leads to a speculation that narcissists may generally be more fact resistant.’
After controlling for all potentially confounding variables, the team also found that ‘the higher the level of intelligence, the lower the belief in astrology.’
Similar positive correlations were also seen between a belief in astrology and higher levels of agreeableness and extroversion.
‘It is not clear why this ancient practice of studying positions and movements of celestial bodies — with the conviction that they influence human behaviour — is going through a revival,’ psychologist Petri Kajonius of Lund University and his colleagues wrote in their paper
Previous research has concluded that people are more likely to put stock in astrology at times of personal crisis — a fact, the team noted, that could explain why the popularity of the pseudoscience appears to be on the rise at the present.
Currently we are surrounded by stressors such as climate change and, recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes the topic pertinent,’ the researchers wrote.
‘Though embracing astrology might seem innocent, it is nonetheless possible that it facilitates uncritical thinking and favours biases.
Furthermore, they warned, ‘belief in astrology correlates with belief in multiple other pseudosciences as well as with belief in conspiracy theories — which indicates that it might not be all that harmless.’
The full findings of the study were published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
BELIEVE IN CONSPIRACY THEORIES? YOU’RE PROBABLY A NARCISSIST, RESEARCHERS SAY
People who doubt the moon landings are more likely to be selfish and attention-seeking, according to a 2015 study.
Over the course of three online-based studies, researchers at the University of Kent showed strong links between the belief in conspiracy theories and negative psychological traits.
Writing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the team explained: ‘Previous research linked the endorsement of conspiracy theories to low self-esteem.’
In the first study, a total of 202 participants completed questionnaires on conspiracy beliefs, asking how strongly they agreed with specific statements, such as whether governments carried out acts of terrorism on their own soil.
Alongside this, they were asked to complete a narcissist scale and a self-esteem assessment.
The results showed that those people who rated highly on the narcissism scale and who had low self-esteem were more likely to be conspiracy believers.