Something free is usually worth what you pay

Thanks for the offer of a free 'reading,' Lynn (see her comment on the previous post). How 'bout this: I'll send you a couple dozen personality test results and you tell me--according to your usual chart reading process--which one is mine?

Actually, that's already been done, so let's not waste each other's time.

The experiment, reported in the December 5, 1985 issue of Nature, was a double-blind experiment conducted with the active cooperation of the National Council of Geocosmic Research (NCGR). That organization of astrologers nominated advisers to the study, prepared the horoscopes for the test and further provided a list of astrologers they felt were suitably qualified. The advisers interacted closely with the project and several of their suggestions were incorporated. The California Personality Inventory Test was chosen, for example, because astrologers judged the attributes to be the closest to those discernible by astrology.

Each of the astrologers were given the horoscope prepared by the NCGR and three personality profiles, including one that matched the horoscope they were given. The task was to pick which of the three was the correct one. The method was determined before data was collected, experimenters had no access to the subjects' identities during the period of data collection, and subjects were referred to only by assigned code numbers.

If they selected the correct one simply by chance they'd get it right at least one-third of the time. Astrologers predicted that they would get it right at least 50% of the time, an odd admission that even they thought they'd be wrong at least half the time. (Instead of using your horoscope you could flip a coin to make a decision with equal probability of being correct.)

The study in the end covered 116 subjects with 28 participating astrologers. Only one-third of the choices, exactly what you'd expect due to chance, were correct. As Mythbusters would say


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