Sunday, July 27, 2008


Sun Sign Astrology

Summary: Here is a link to a simple survey, to determine for myself the validity of sun sign astrology. It consists of 17 questions.

1. Sun sign astrology is highly popular and is still published in main stream newspapers all around the world.

2. The basic premise of sun sign astrology is that people's characteristics are correlated with their birthdays.

3. I know several people (some of them scientists) who believe in sun sign astrology. They typically study the characteristics associated with each sun, and claim to have observed a strong correlation between the sun signs of the people they know and their characteristics.

4. However this kind of reasoning may suffer from the flaw that people typically remember the hits and forget to correctly account for the misses -- similar to why people seem to agree with Murphy's law from their daily experiences.

5. An another reason why astrology is popular may be explained with the Forer effect. It is "the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people". (Read Forer's demonstration is the above wiki is quite funny)

5. I have read the characteristics associated with sun signs myself, and when I try to see people around me, I have to concede, it does seem like there is some correlation. Am I falling a prey to phsycological factors or is there really a correlation? Tons of research conducted, as archived here, all conclude that there is no truth whatsoever in astrology. Yet, it would be nice to verify it myself with an objective test...

6. I am requesting people to take this survey of 17 questions (Thanks to my friend for creating the applet). The survey first asks you your birthdate and then gives 12 sets of characteristics. For each of the set of characteristics, the responder should give a score ranging from 0 to 10; a score of 10 meaning that he thinks his personality fits perfectly with the current set, while a score of 0 means that the current set does not describe the responder at all. Each of the sets of characteristics are those that are associated with various sun signs. The purpose of the experiments is to see empirically, what ratings does the "correct" sun sign obtain. Does it get a relatively high or low score. A high rating would suggest some correlation and vice versa. Of course, the survey would work the best with people who have no exposure to sun sign astrology!

Here is the link.

4) seems intuitive, but it wont explain, why some astrologers have repeated success with prediction than others. doesnt seem like a co-incidence but a skill.

from wat i have seen, either ppl believe in astrology or dont. dep on that, they look only at hits or misses to confirm that thier belief is correct. also astrology mite work based on "u dont want to disbelieve when something good is said abt ur future, when something is said bad, u want to dismiss it as fake theory". when somebody says "i like you", u tend to like them little bit whether u liked them before or not. somthing like that i guess.
"astrologers have repeated success with prediction than others."


not verified objectively at all.

Yes it is definitely a skill, for eg.
i wudnt call that cold reading, as many ppl dont goto astrologers themselves, but send this jathagam thru others. usu one person knows an astrologer and all his close relatives give to him/her. ofcourse the astrologer has background info from this person.
There are some characteristics associated with each sun-sign, but the degree to which they are present in a person depends on other factors in the horoscope. sun-sign astrology is popular due to the relative ease of computation, perhaps.
Are your questions "objective" or "long-answer" ?

"...but the degree to which they are present in a person depends on other factors in the horoscope."
Yes, I have heard about this line of thought. Even if sun-sign is not the only parameter, surely, there needs to be some correlation b/w sun signs and associated characteristics...right. I just want to verify if there exists some correlation or none.

"sun-sign astrology is popular due to the relative ease of computation, perhaps."
I agree.

"Are your questions "objective" or "long-answer" ?"
Objective...I hope.
Hey Vijay,

I don't completely beleive in Sun signs, but it does make sense in some cases eg take the case of of Srini, u and me. We were all born in the same month of the same year, don't you feel that you and Srini have more of Aries characteristics while I have Taurus characteristic?
Yes, a lot of people believe in sun signs due to their personal experiences -- However the way in which we form beliefs are error prone.

I just wanted to see objectively if there is a correlation.
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