Horoscopes: several of us read them, but how much should we really believe what they say?
Horoscopes are defined as “a forecast of a person’s future, typically including a delineation of character and circumstances, based on the relative positions of the stars and planets at the time of that person’s birth.” Some people read them religiously and swear they are accurate predictors of their future, but it’s inevitable to question their validity. How can astrology and the date you were born predict your fate? The truth is, it can’t.
Despite the fact that many people do believe their horoscopes can give them at least a little insight into their life (I’ll admit, I have an app dedicated to daily horoscopes and I do check it from time to time), there is little scientific evidence that supports the validity of horoscopes. Why do we tend to believe them though? Each zodiac sign has personality traits associated with it, often ones that are very specific and usually positive. As human beings, we want to believe the best about ourselves and are more inclined to believe a horoscope that says we are both an “independent thinker” and “perceptive and sensitive to others’ ideas,” which are completely contradictory.
However, believe it or not, if someone can identify at least one of these qualities in themselves, they are fairly likely to feel like this description is personally related to them and will feel connected to their zodiac sign. Horoscopes operate on the psychology that if they provide enough general, vague information about something, someone will somehow relate it to something in their life and will believe it is tailored specifically to them. In addition, horoscopes can be found all over the Internet, and they often provide conflicting messages about day-to-day predictions for people of the same zodiac sign, discrediting the validity of the concept of horoscopes even more.
Although we almost all know horoscopes are not really legitimate, many people still like to read them anyways. “I know it’s a little ridiculous to read it every day, but it’s fun even if I know it’s probably not really true,” said one Bucknell student.
The bottom line? If you read your horoscope, by all means continue to enjoy it, but take it with a grain of salt: it’s probably not a good idea to base any decisions you make on the location of Mars or the relation of any other planet that may be relevant to your sign that particular day.