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Good News: Astrology Doesn’t Impact the Success of Your Marriage

While the success of your marriage probably has nothing to do with the position of Venus, astrological signs can probably impact how people feel about things

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What’s your sign? Does it matter? You might think that scientists are above answering such questions, but you’d be wrong. A team from the University of Manchester did a study in 2007 called “Ten million marriages: A test of astrological ‘love signs’”. They analyzed 10 million marriages, using census data from the U.K. and inferring astrological signs from couples’ birth dates.

Astrologists have specific ideas about which signs make the best matches—a Sagittarius is better off with a Leo or Aquarius than with a Cancer. But the University of Manchester team found that, in reality, people tended to marry others with birthdays close to their own. In fact, the number of couples with the exact same birthday was 41 percent higher than expected. (According to Saggitarius.com, two Sagittarii together can be “highly unpredictable although remarkable!”)

It turns out that these same-birthday pairings are probably just accidents on the forms, writes United Academics. When you take away the birthday weirdness, you wind up with no effect at all. The study includes the following analysis:

This research shows that astrological sign has no impact on the probability of marrying – and staying married to – someone of any other sign. For decades, popular astrologers have promoted the idea of ‘love signs’: compatibility between partners with certain combinations of birthdays. If the more than twenty million married people in England and Wales offer any indication, however, lonely hearts who worry about the zodiac are wasting their time

There is one thing that the study didn’t account for—how horoscopes might in fact impact a relationship. If, say, a woman really believed that she was meant to be with a Leo, it could impact her relationships with non-Leos. But, according to a study published in Correlation in 2001, reading horoscopes seems to have little impact on a woman’s actual behavior. Only 15 percent of women said they would change what they did based on a horoscope. But the study also found that astrology is taken pretty seriously by a lot of people. The researchers write:

More generally, the questionnaire results confirm the strong influence of astrology on women’s lives. 72% do not think astrology is just superstition and almost 90% said that they find out the sun signs of people they have relationships with. 78% had read a book concerning their sun sign in love. Even though only 15% said they would alter their behaviour according to what they read in a horoscope, these results suggest that astrology may influence women’s behaviour in many ways.

So while the success of your marriage probably has nothing to do with the position of Venus, horoscopes in the back of women’s magazines may be having more influence than anyone’s willing to admit.

More from Smithsonian.com:

The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Is Pretty Much Meaningless
Astronomy’s New Stars

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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