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The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology, 2022, 4(12); doi: 10.25236/FSST.2022.041210.

Understanding the Impact of Barnum Effect in Astrology: An Eye-tracking Study


Cao Huizi1, Xuan Yiwei2

Corresponding Author:
Cao Huizi

1Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School, Shanghai, 201101, China

2WLSA Shanghai Academy, Shanghai, 200940, China


The Barnum effect refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people tend to believe personality descriptions that are vague and general. For instance, believers in astrology attribute themselves to astrological categorization and descriptions. This study leverages the eye-tracking method to explore the impact of the Barnum effect in astrology. In the experiment, 12 participants were randomly recruited at a shopping mall in China. The description of the western zodiac was used as stimuli. Participants read 12 zodiac descriptions without labeling the corresponding zodiac signs. And they were asked to choose items that they considered fit their personalities afterward. Participants were divided into two groups. In group one, there was no limit to the number of items they could choose. In group two, participants could choose only one item. During the experiment, an eye-tracker was used to capture their gaze patterns, which could provide quantitative data. According to the results, in group one, most participants chose at least two items, which is inconsistent with the zodiac rule. Meanwhile, group two participants showed significantly higher revisit counts than group one. This indicates it is more difficult for people to choose only one item. The finding indicates that zodiac descriptions are vague and general, which is consistent with the Barnum effect.


Barnum effect, Astrology, Zodiac sign, Personality, Horoscope, Eye-tracking

Cite This Paper

Cao Huizi, Xuan Yiwei. Understanding the Impact of Barnum Effect in Astrology: An Eye-tracking Study. The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology (2022) Vol. 4, Issue 12: 74-78. https://doi.org/10.25236/FSST.2022.041210.


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