Barnard Psychology

Crick, F. H. C. (1994). Astonishing hypothesis:

The scientific search for the soul.

New York: Scribners.

ASTROLOGY, THEORY OF. This tenacious, and unsubstantiated, theory is based on the belief that celestial bodies, in particular, the stars, have an influence on human behavior and personality (cf., Barnum effect). Historically, astrology is primitive astronomy but, whereas the latter is now a legitimate scientific endeavor, the former is considered as a "pseudoscience" founded in the notion that the positions of the moon, sun, and stars affect human affairs, and that one can foretell the future by studying the stars. The name "Chaldeans" (late Babylonians, c. 1000 B.C.) came to mean "astrologer" among the early biblical writers (cf., Daniel 2: 2, 10) and the early Romans. The earliest astronomers were priests, and no attempt was made in those days to separate astronomy from the pseudoscience of astrology. Today, of course, the situation has changed and there is a great gulf separating astronomy from astrology. The American psychologist/lexicographer Arthur S. Reber (1940- ) probably put the proper perspective on astrology when he wrote that contemporary scientific interest in astrology is mainly for insight into human gullibility, and that most psychologists today are led to the conclusion that the stars have about as much influence on our behavior as we have on theirs! See also BARNUM EFFECT; BIORHYTHM THEORY; GRAPHOLOGY, THEORY OF; PERSONALITY THEORIES; PSEUDOSCIENTIFIC AND UNCONVENTIONAL THEORIES. REFERENCES

French, C., Fowler, M., McCarthy, K., & Peers, D. (1991). Belief in astrology: A test of the Barnum effect. Skeptical Inquirer, 15, 166-172. Reber, A. S. (1995). The Penguin dictionary of psychology. 2nd ed. New York: Penguin Books.


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