Don't get too excited, astrology fans, but there might be something to zodiacs—or, at least, the association of certain traits with people born during certain times of the year. As pseudo-sciencey as it sounds, researchers have noticed a correlation between some medical conditions and behavioral traits and a person's season of birth, Christian Jarrett reports at Wired.
"For instance, Spring babies are more likely than others to develop schizophrenia later in life, whereas Summer babies tend to grow up to be more sensation seeking," he writes.
A Columbia University researcher recently decided to take a deeper look at the strange association between birth season and brain development. He analyzed brain scans from 550 healthy adult men and women from London and compared their brains to see if there were any differences between people born in different seasons.
Men's brains, it turned out, were the only ones with any signficiant differences according to birth season. Specifically, Jarrett says, men born in the fall or winter (peaking in late December) "tended to have more grey matter in a region known as the left superior temporal sulcus," while those born in summer or spring had less (dipping lowest in late June).
Here's Wired with more on those findings' significance:
It’s interesting that Pantazatos found a specific link with this brain region. The amount of grey matter in the superior temporal sulcus – a region that includes the auditory cortex – has previously been linked with schizophrenia, with patients tending to have reduced volume in this area.
Additionally, the researcher tried to design a predictive test that could look a person's brain scan and tell which season he or she had been born in. The algorithm assigned correct seasonal labels 35 percent of the time—not perfect but still significant.
If you're a man born in late June, you are not—of course—doomed to develop schizophrenia. While the results are interesting, there are many more questions left than answers. The factors that shape brain development are no doubt much more complex than whether you're a Christmas or a July 4th baby—whatever your horoscope might indicate.