What makes astrology so believable?

Source: Times Now News
Astrology has been helping people make choices for thousands of years.

Source: Times Now News Astrology has been helping people make choices for thousands of years.

Ash Reynolds, Clubs and Organizations Editor

“What is your sign?” Is a question most people can say they have been asked at least once in their lives, if not many more times.

People often use astrology to explain their personality quirks or why they are having a bad week. Some even go as far as to say the stars make them who they are.

The question is: Why is astrology so believable?

To understand why astrology is believable, one first has to know what astrology is.

Astrology is essentially a deep dive into the position of celestial bodies, like the sun and the moon, in the universe and how these positions affect individuals. Astrology is used to let people understand why they are the way that they are.

With that basic description, one may be wondering why people believe in it. Ultimately, there are many factors that allow the astrology industry to boom the way it has.

The first of these factors is the placebo effect. The placebo effect is when one finds relief or joy from something that actually has no value. For example, when one is performing a trial for a new medication, half of the participants are given a placebo pill, which will provide no benefits. This allows researchers to prove that the medication works on its own, and not just because the participants want it to work.

Astrology is a placebo in a way. Those that believe in it want it to be true, and often try to adjust the horoscopes they are given to fit their lives. Alternatively, people will try to adjust their daily lives to fit their horoscope. 

This is done due to the human instinct to justify their beliefs. Humans often fall victim to confirmation bias, which is when someone only searches for evidence to support their argument, as opposed to seeing both sides equally.

When someone is actively looking for proof they are correct, they will find it more times than not, even if they are entirely wrong. 

Astrology is presented in a way where the statements are never entirely wrong. 

In fact, astrology utilizes the Barnum effect, which is the idea that humans will accept descriptions of themselves to be fact, even though these descriptions are so vague that they can apply to anyone. 

So, when an astrology website says that you have a desire for acceptance because you are a Virgo, you accept it to be true. 

A final factor that often contributes to the astrology craze is the fear of the unknown. 

Humans often fear the unknown, and find the potential of a bad outcome scarier than a guaranteed bad outcome. So, humans are often searching for something to believe in.

Basically, if you tell someone they are definitely going to experience change, they are going to want to believe you, even if you have no evidence to back it up. 

This fear further adds to the placebo and Barnum effects, giving solid reasoning as to why astrology is so relied on.

The combination of the generalized statements, the instinct to believe in something, and the placebo effect creates a recipe for astrology related businesses to profit.