Lund University psychologists surveyed more than 250 people about their beliefs in astrology and their personality traits.
They found that those with strong beliefs scored higher on narcissism, but lower on intelligence.
However, they also found that belief in horoscopes was associated with traits of compatibility and extroversion.
The team said narcissists are more likely to follow horoscopes because they are more “resistant to the facts” and find that positive framing appeals to their exaggeration.
The study was conducted by psychologist Petri Cajunius of Sweden’s “Lund” University and his colleagues.
“Astrology is growing in popularity, despite the lack of scientific support,” the researchers wrote in their article. “It is not clear why this ancient practice of studying the positions and movements of celestial bodies has returned, with the conviction that it influences human behavior.”
Dr. Cajunios and his colleagues wanted to know if belief in astrology was related to any particular personality trait.
They recruited 264 people through social media and asked them to complete a series of questionnaires.
The first explored how much each participant believed in astronomy and if they understood that it was supported by scientific research.
Subsequent questions provided a general assessment of personality, according to a “big five” rating, along with specific tests of intelligence levels and narcissistic traits.
The main finding showed that the greater the narcissism, perhaps surprisingly, the greater the belief in astrology, the researchers wrote.
Recognizing the need for more research to explore the reasons behind this association, the team has some hypotheses that may explain their findings.
And since astrological predictions and horoscopes tend to be framed in a positive way, this promotes feelings of greatness and therefore may attract more narcissists.
Furthermore, they note, “narcissistic traits are linked to the belief that astrology is backed by science, leading to speculation that narcissists in general may be more resistant to reality.”
After controlling for all possible confounding variables, the team also found that “the higher the level of intelligence, the lower the belief in astrology.”
Similar positive associations were also seen between belief in astrology and higher levels of agreeableness and extraversion.
Previous research concluded that people are more likely to place values on astrology in times of personal crisis – a fact, the team noted, that could explain why pseudoscience is so popular today.
“We are currently surrounded by pressures such as climate change and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, making the issue very relevant,” the researchers wrote.
They cautioned that “belief in astrology correlates with belief in many other pseudosciences, as well as belief in conspiracy theories, suggesting that they may not all be harmless.”
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