August 13, 2022

Lund University researchers found people with lower intelligence were more likely to follow astrology

People who believe in astrology may actually be less intelligent and more narcissistic than those who believe that planets and stars are simply celestial bodies.

Astrology and new-age spiritual practices have increased in popularity in recent years, with views on TikTok alone totalling 38.7 billion. But a study published in March paints the trend in a negative light, going as far as to say that astrology fanatics aren’t quite as sharp as sceptics.

Astrology is described as: “The study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world.”

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden analysed 264 responses from an online questionnaire. They found that the higher the levels of narcissism, the “higher the belief in astrology.” They also found that people with lower intelligence typically subscribed more to the ideas of astrology.

According to Psychology Today, those participating in the study completed the following five tests:

  • The Belief in Astrology Inventory (BAI) saw participants choose eight beliefs they value as important.
  • The IPIP-30 Personality Scale looked at traits including agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience.
  • Short Dark Triad of Personality (SD3-Narcissism) also seeks to understand themes of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.
  • Three-dimensional rotation items (measuring visual-spatial reasoning) from the International Cognitive Ability Resource were used to assess intelligence.

The scientists argued that: “The positive association is possibly due to the self-centered worldview uniting them, though this must be examined in further research.”

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The study went on to describe how wannabe astrologers tended to highlight their “uniqueness” which could turn into an “egocentric view of the world”.

“Since astrological predictions and horoscopes tend to be positively framed, this reinforces grandiose feelings and thus might appeal even more to narcissists,” researchers said.

“Though embracing astrology might seem innocent, it is nonetheless possible that it facilitates uncritical thinking and favours biases,” they continued. “Further, 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.”

But that isn’t to say the collapse of society will be down to people who believe the placement of Venus has an effect on their love life, as a 2018 study from PewResearch found that only 37 per cent of women believe in astrology compared to 20 per cent of men.

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