Horoscopes are perhaps the original guilty pleasure. For every culture throughout history that believed our fates hinge on our zodiac signs, there was a skeptic calling B.S. The Arab theologian Ibn al-Qayyim was questioning the validity of astrological methods way back in the 13th century.
Still, horoscopes can’t seem to die, tucked into the back pages of newspapers and dredged up by That One Aunt after the dessert cocktails at Thanksgiving. (“You’re a Gemini, you should really put yourself out there this month.”)
If anything, they serve as more of a hedge than a doctrine—the rabbit’s foot of belief systems.
“Millionaires don't use astrology,” JP Morgan, the king of hedging, once said. “Billionaires do.”
Astrology is, of course, basically bunk. Which is why it’s surprising that a study presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology over the weekend suggests that the month in which we were born can, in fact, have an important effect on our mood.
For the paper, Xenia Gonda, an associate professor at Semmelweis University in Budapest, asked 366 university students to fill out a questionnaire that aims to determine which of four kinds of temperaments they most personify. The questions included things like “My mood often changes for no reason” and “I love to tackle new projects, even if risky” and “I complain a lot.” She then correlated their answers with their birthdays.