Link between astrology and narcissism

People who follow astrology, horoscopes and star signs are likely to be narcissistic, according to new research

A study has found that, apparently, those of us who do what our zodiac signs tell us to do have a “self-centred” and egocentric view of the world”. But to what extent is this fair or even true?

Astrology is more popular than ever. Perhaps due to all the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a surge in people searching for their star signs and finding out their horoscopes in the last year or so. 

According to Google Trends, searches for ‘birth chart’ and ‘astrology’ both hit a five-year high in 2020. Meanwhile, professional astrologers have seen their businesses flourish and many have even enrolled on online astrology courses to learn how to interpret their own birth charts. 

Whether you’re a longstanding horoscope addict or your fascination with sun signs and moon phases is a new thing, it turns out your interest in astrology could mean you’re a narcissist, according to new research published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

The study, conducted by psychologists from Lund University in Sweden, found that belief in astrology is associated with higher narcissism and lower IQ levels. Psychology Today recently published the findings and explored the link between the two. 

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Belief in astrology is associated with higher narcissism and lower IQ levels.

For the Lund University paper, the researchers assessed the personalities, intelligence levels and astrology beliefs of 264 people through a series of online questionnaires. The majority of participants, 87%, were women aged between 25 and 34.

The women were asked to complete The Belief in Astrology Inventory (BAI) where they were asked to rate the truth, on a scale of one to five, of statements such as ‘horoscopes predict a person’s future’ and ‘the way I relate to other people depends on my zodiac sign’.

They were also asked to complete a short version of the Dark Triad of Personality test, consisting of 27 items to assess traits of narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. Participants were asked to respond to statements such as “I know that I’m special because everyone keeps telling me so” and “I like to use clever manipulation to get my own way’.  

The study revealed a positive association between narcissistic tendencies and belief in astrology. But why?

Astrology and narcissism
Individuals are more likely to turn to astrology during times of turmoil.

The authors speculated this is due to the “self-centred worldview uniting them”. They also suggested that “cultural aspects of millennials may emphasize the uniqueness of individuals, which might lead to a more egocentric view of the world, and thus relate to narcissistic traits.”

Interestingly, they suggested that the connection between narcissistic traits and astrology may have something to do with the tendency of horoscopes to be positively framed. “This reinforces grandiose feelings and thus might appeal even more to narcissists.”

Finally, narcissism was also strongly associated with the – incorrect – idea that astrology is supported by science, suggesting the possibility that “narcissists may generally be more fact resistant.”

So there you have it: if you’re into astrology, you might well be a narcissist, or at least share similar tendancies. But before you throw away your birth chart or unfollow your favourite Instagram astrologer, it should be noted that there are a number of limitations to this study. These include the lack of random sampling and the use of shortened versions of the scales. And crucially, the fact that the majority of participants were young women means the findings can’t be generalised to the entire population.

In the conclusion, the authors suggest refraining from drawing strong conclusions about belief in astrology and its association with higher narcissism and lower intelligence until further research is conducted. 

They also point out that prior research shows individuals and societies are more likely to turn to astrology during times of turmoil, stress and confusion as a way to cope. As we inch toward the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, that’s certainly relevant to us. 

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