Horoscopes 'bad for you' say scientists, warning obsession with starsigns can cause indulgent and impulsive behaviour

Scientists warn people who checked their horoscope daily were more likely to behave impulsively

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The Independent Online

While horoscopes are ridiculed by some, following the stars is an obsession for others. However new research suggests studying your horoscope regularly may actually be bad for you.

Research published in the Journal of Consumer Research has found people who checked their horoscope daily were more likely to behave impulsively or exhibit indulgent behaviour if their zodiac was negative.

In one study, scientists at the University of South Carolina and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland asked participants to choose between going to a party or cleaning their home after reading a favourable or unfavourable star sign.

Going to a party was considered an indulgent decision and cleaning at home a virtuous one. Participants who had been given a negative star sign were more likely to choose attending a party over a virtuous decision.

The authors were surprised by the results and had expected participants who were handed an unfavourable horoscope to choose the virtuous activity in a bid to prevent the outcome in their horoscope. 

“Conventional wisdom might suggest that for people who believe they can change their fate, an unfavourable horoscope should result in an attempt to improve their fate,” the authors of study, Hyeongmin Kim of Johns Hopkins University, and Katina Kulow and Thomas Kramer of the University of South Carolina, said.

The authors note approximately one third of people in America "strongly believe" in the fateful predictions within horoscopes.

The authors concluded: "Specifically, our studies reveal that an unfavorable fateful prediction subsequently increases the likelihood of choosing indulgent over virtuous options only for consumers who believed their fate is malleable.

"Further, those who believe in malleable fate do not show indulgent behaviour after receiving an unfavourable fateful prediction covering a longer time period or after receiving a favorable fateful prediction.

“Our results showed that reading an unfavourable horoscope actually has the opposite effect on a person.”