Written in the Stars: Why You Look to Horoscopes for Love and Money

What does your sign hold in 2022?
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Chat moderator Belle believes 2022 will be the year she'll find a boyfriend and stop saying "sana all" because it's written in the stars by her Zodiac sign, with her horoscope serving as compass for true love and good fortune.

A 26-year-old Virgo, Belle said her horoscope states that singles like her would have the chance to find love this year, an opportunity that, even for non-Virgos, is available every day, every year.

"Wala naman kasing mawawala diba kung magbasa at maniwala ka sa horoscope? Malay mo naman magkajowa talaga ako this year," she told reportr. 

Belle is among millions worldwide who find comfort in their zodiac readings for the prospects of good fortune, love, career, and health.

READ: New Year, New Me: How to Succeed at New Year's Resolutions

It's important to establish first that astrology and horoscopes are not science. Astrologers however follow a certain system for their predictions and guides on how people should live their lives based on the movement and alignment of celestial bodies.

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And with all the scientific feats humanity has achieved for centuries, people still believe or find comfort in what the alignment of the stars "says" despite the lack of evidence to back it up.

So why do people believe horoscopes? It's because people, as conscious individuals, have a need to understand their future since they can anticipate it, said Asst. Prof. Darren Dumaop, who teaches Psychology at the De La Salle University-Manila.

"Nobody wants a gloomy future. Everybody wants a positive, warm, prosperous future and everybody wants some form of validation for that," Dumaop told reportr.

Why do some find horoscopes comforting?

For many, science is difficult to understand. But horoscopes are easy (and quite universal).

Fascination with horoscopes can be explained through the Barnum Effect. Coined in 1956 by psychologist Paul Meehl, the Barnum Effect is an everyday psychological phenomenon where people believe that personality descriptions apply specifically to them when, in fact, these are general information that can apply to anyone.

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Take for example horoscopes warning Libras to be careful with their money since they could fall into bad investments. Such a guide is applicable to all, even non-Libras.

"People, in general, want to find out their future because they can imagine one and some people want to feel some certainty about their future," psychologist Dumaop said.

But with all the stress and pressures of life on top of worrying about the raging COVID-19 pandemic, a glimpse of hope is comforting even if the certainty cannot be confirmed according to Belle.

"Motivating din kasi yung horoscope. It gives you something to look forward to, na may maganda na mangyayari kahit na parang wala ng hope," she said.

Not everyone who reads horoscopes believe it. For those who find the guides entertaining, Dumaop said it boosts one's positive emotions, the same goes for those who view horoscopes as motivations.

"If you feel good about life, you have a broader mindset and you become more capable to build on your life. Kumbaga, mas ganado ka sa buhay," Dumaop said.

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What's the danger of horoscopes?

While horoscopes are entertaining and motivating for some, religious belief in such could also be dangerous since believers could stray from evidence-based information in the future according to Dumaop.

"If you take it seriously, like you put your faith in it, and make it part of your truth, the long-term effect is lalayo ka sa mga information na hindi nag-aalign doon sa mga bagay na dati mo ng alam at mga gusto mong mangyari sayo," he said.

So how should people use horoscopes? Like what astrologers say, horoscopes are just guides and should not be taken as gospel truth.

"Di ba sinasabi din naman ng mga nanghuhula, may disclaimer sila na ito ay gabay lamang," Dumaop said.

"So that's it. It's a guide. What's important is that you find validation within you. And if for some reason you cannot, try to find it with your family, relationships, and friends," he added.

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