Submitted as a Psychology Practical Report



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A Person’s Belief in Astrological Predictions of Behaviour and Their Ability to Apply to Many People Regardless of their Star Sign.

Harrison Gray




Submitted as a Psychology Practical Report
Due Date: 10th March
Tutor: Ms Joblin
Class: Year 11 VCE Psychology


Abstract

This experiment is on the accuracy of Astrological star signs and their horoscopes and whether people will believe predictions apply to them even though it is not their true horoscope. By imitating a horoscope, which is indistinct and lacking in any specific predictions, we can judge whether people, regardless of their star sign, will believe it. The hypothesis was that yes, people will think the descriptors apply to them and therefore supporting the fact that Astrology is false. This hypothesis was supported by the data gathered which showed numerous amounts of people favouring the fairly accurate category across all descriptors. The conclusion states that this experiment has indicated that Astrology is false in predicting human behaviour.



There are many branches of Psychology, which all study the mind and behaviour using different methods. One avenue of Psychology is pseudoscience, which means that it is fake or false and that the perspective in question has no empirical evidence to back it up and the manner in which their predictions are gathered are questionable. Astrology is one such pseudoscience; it looks at the theory that the position of the stars and planets at your time of birth map out what type of person you will be and how you will lead your life. Within Astrology are twelve star signs across different times in the year and each person has his or her own birth sign, each with its own traits and faults. Daily horoscopes have widened the belief and popularity of Astrology and many people read their horoscopes, whether they believe in them or not. Most of these horoscopes are very vague and can apply to a wide audience which leads many people to believe that Astrology has validity because they feel it relates to them, especially when the prediction praises them. Previous researchers such as Phil Plait, a journalist who investigated Astrology, came to the conclusion that,
“Astrologers tend to rely on our ability to remember hits and forget misses. Even an accurate prediction may be simple chance. Study after study has shown that claims and predictions made by astrologers have no merit. They are indistinguishable from chance, which means astrologers cannot claim to have some ability to predict your life's path.”
The VCE Psychology class believe that many participants will believe what the horoscopes said about them because the predictions cover a wide audience of people regardless of their star sign, thus proving that Astrology is not accurate in predicting behaviour. In answer to the research question; which sex, boys or girls, are more likely to believe their horoscopes? The class responded saying that girls were more likely to believe it than boys.

Method

Participants
The participants were all students of Lara Secondary College between the ages of 13 to 16, of both males and females. Of the 110 surveyed, all 12 star signs were covered.

Materials
Survey sheets
Star sign cue cards
Stationary equipment
Whiteboard
Computers

Procedure

  • The VCE Psychology class established the research question and formed a hypothesis on the outcome of the experiment.

  • They then split the class into two and allocated which sex each half would survey.

  • The class then proceeded to survey the students using star sign descriptors and a sheet that the participants filled out. Each participant was surveyed separately and were given their star sign cue card that was identical to all the others and left to read through it and judge how accurate it was to them.

  • Then combined the data and graphed it.

  • Compared data of both sexes together.




Results

Overall accuracy of descriptors



Category

Girls

Boys

Very Accurate

11

10

Fairly Accurate

35

34

Neither Accurate nor Inaccurate

7

9

Mildly Inaccurate

2

2

Very Inaccurate

0

0

Accuracy of each descriptor - Girls

Descriptor

VA

FA

N/A

MI

VI

1

23

18

6

4

4

2

14

15

17

5

4

3

13

19

14

4

5

4

21

20

9

4

1

5

29

10

6

6

4

6

25

17

6

5

2

7

27

17

6

2

3

8

21

13

10

7

4

Accuracy of each descriptor - Boys

Descriptor

VA

FA

N/A

MI

VI

1

20



19

10

3




Key

VA – Very Accurate
FA – Fairly Accurate
N/A – Neither Accurate nor Inaccurate
MI – Mildly Inaccurate
VI – Very Inaccurate
3

2

15



21

16

2



1

3

17



21

12

2



3

4

17



13

10

8



2

5

15



21

11

4



3

6

18



20

10

3



4

7

18



20

6

5



6

8

20



13

16

5



1

Overall accuracy of descriptors – Figure #2



Discussion

The experiment has produced data that supports the hypothesis that Astrology isn’t accurate in predicting behaviour. Many participants believed that the descriptors did apply to them, most selecting the ‘fairly accurate’ category for each descriptor and also for overall, even though each star sign horoscope was exactly the same, thereby challenging the validity of Astrology and showing that a person will be inclined to believe a prediction if it is claimed under their star sign. The other hypothesis about which sex believes horoscopes more was inconclusive. The data slightly supports the hypothesis that girls are more likely but the difference is so small that you couldn’t use the results to apply it to a wider audience. In reference to Phil Plaits quote about Astrology, it is true that the predictions provided by Astrologers are vague and provide and usually relate to people only by chance.


Reference

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/astrology.html


Phil Plaits Bad Astronomy



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