Astrological Compatibility

Recently, I posted a hypothesis and began collecting data to prove or disprove my position. The hypothesis was:

  • The large number of failed marriages in the United States are a result of poor Astrological Compatibility.

I consider the following results preliminary as the sample size is rather small (22 couples) and my knowledge and experience with interpretation of astrological data is severely limited. With those parameters in mind, let’s see what we’ve got!

I broke all couples down to either Highly Compatible, Moderately Compatible, or Low Compatibility pairings. There is some subjectivity in these rankings that I based upon my studies of the signs. If a good match was possible, but required effort from both partners to make it work, I deemed the match Moderate. High and Low Compatibility matches were fairly obvious.

  • 54.5% of the couples in the sample are still married.

This corresponds quite well to the National Average.

  • 27% of the couples in the sample married a Highly Compatible partner.
  • 54.5% of the couples in the sample married a Moderately Compatible partner.
  • 18% of the couples in the sample married a partner of Low Compatibility.

What can we glean from these initial statistics? It would appear that the natural incompatibility of two signs, Pisces and Aquarius for example, prevent most couples from entering into an ill-fated union. More than half of us marry someone whom we are compatible with, but only moderately so. Finding true love is difficult and perhaps some of these Moderately Compatible marriages are a result of a “close enough for government work” approach. Couples perhaps know their partner is not perfect for them, but they love them and are willing to accept them as they are, at least they think so at the time! Then there are those couples who just belong together, the ones who others immediately recognize as a perfect pair. There aren’t many it appears, at least not many that find each other and marry.

Let’s see how our married couples have made out thus far.

  • Of the Most Compatible Astrological unions, 67% are still married.
  • Of the Low & Moderate Compatibility couples, 50% are still married.

Interestingly, half of the Moderate Compatibility couples feature at least one partner whose Zodiac sign is on the Cusp, meaning their birth borders on the edge of the next Zodiac. My initial studies show that Cusp individuals  have traits and characteristics of both signs, although their primary sign remains dominant. Perhaps the melding of the two signs increases the likelihood of compatibility with more people. This theory which I just made up requires more study.

Now for the most telling statistics of the study.

  • 80% of the couples who are no longer married were either Low or Moderately Compatible!
  • 84% of the couples who are still married are either Moderately or Highly Compatible!

I will not say my hypothesis is proven correct yet, but I feel more strongly than I did before I began collecting data that I am onto something here. Not everyone fits neatly into their Astrological Profile. There are many traits for each Zodiac and people are complicated animals. But there is no denying that certain personality traits will rub each other the wrong way, like Fire and Water if you will. If you find yourself falling for someone, feeling the early signs of love in the air, it may be wise to study this person’s Astrological Sign, comparing their compatibility with your own, then monitoring your partner to see how closely they resemble the Classical Description of their birth house. Seeing how many unions fail, I don’t see how it could hurt!

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8 comments

  1. lunargirl · · Reply

    Joe,
    I really liked the idea behind your hypothesis and I am not surprised at your findings. I have always thought that there must be something to that.

    Now (wink), you could correlate the Chinese Zodiac along with the one we are all accustomed to and see what that does…If you have a lot of time, that is.

    Seriously, though, thanks for taking the time to look into this. It is something that I have wondered about many times.

    Lunargirl

  2. Honestly, there are a lot of serious methodological problems here. I suspect you might take the view that it’s just a bit of fun, but if you make any claim towards using the “scientific method”, that’s the standard against which things are judged.

    Firstly – a bit of an aside – this sentence…

    It would appear that the natural incompatibility of two signs, Pisces and Aquarius for example, prevent most couples from entering into an ill-fated union.

    …comes from nowhere. This sort of leap is often called “begging the question” – where you assume the very thing you’re trying to show. Nothing in what you’ve done warrants the claim made.

    With regard to the methodology, here are some of the obvious problems, by no means an exhaustive list:

    The sample size – as you admit – is really very small. The results are therefore extremely unlikely to have any statistical significance.

    The sample is self-selecting. You announced quite clearly what the goal of the survey was, and your interest in correlating astrological signs with compatibility. How might that have affected the sample? Are your readers more likely than the general population to believe in astrology? Are they more likely than the general population to already believe in a correlation between astrology and compatibility, and to have taken that into account when looking for a partner? These factors, and others like them, have the potential to skew your results. It’s why scientific studies need to control their samples very carefully.

    Specific important variables you didn’t control for are: how long ago the person was married; and, if they’re no longer married, how long the marriage lasted for. The relevant comparison here is between two people who were both married, say, ten years ago, and how long the marriages lasted. Without this information, you might easily compare someone who just got married (and deem that an astrological success) with someone who was recently divorced after 30 years of marriage (and deem that an astrological failure). It’s more complicated than that.

    Your analysis wasn’t “blind”. You gathered astrological information and marriage information at the same time, and were aware of both before you performed the analysis. Therefore, it’s possible – even if you were unaware of it happening – that your analysis was skewed by your knowledge of the marriage status of the respondents. This is why scientific studies typically need to be “blinded”. You should have kept the marriage status information secret from yourself until your analysis of astrological compatibility was done.

    As you admit, your assessment of astrological compatibility was itself “subjective”, and you don’t explain in any detail how it was done. Part of the scientific method is to be completely open about methodology, so that it can be critiqued (peer review!), but also so that exactly the same procedure can be repeated by others, in order to confirm (or not) your results. That’s how theories gain traction, or have to be rejected.

    Okay, having said all of that, let’s take your analysis at face value. You don’t provide much in the way of raw numbers, but it actually helps a lot to see what’s going on if you see what they are. Here’s what I think they are, based on your percentages:

    There are 22 respondents.
    12 are still married, and 10 are not still married.
    Your assessment is that 6 have/had high astrological compatibility (4 still married, 2 not still married).
    Your assessment is that 12 have/had moderate compatibility (6 still married, 6 not still married).
    Your assessment is that 4 have/had low compatibility (2 still married, 2 not still married).

    For each of your levels of compatibility, the still married/not still married split is pretty much in line with the national average for divorce. (The 4/2 split in your high compatibility group only stands out because the sub-sample is so tiny – there is no statistical significance here.) Put simply, your assessment of astrological compatibility makes no difference – the numbers are the same for each.

    Finally, the “statistics” that you regard as “most telling” are presented very selectively. You say that:

    80% of the couples who are no longer married were either Low or Moderately Compatible!
    84% of the couples who are still married are either Moderately or Highly Compatible!

    This might be only accidentally misleading, but it is misleading. As a quick look at the raw data makes clear, these numbers are so high because you chose to make use of the – large – “moderately compatible” group in such a way as to support your hypothesis. But there’s no reason why it should be so. Combining the groups in another way provides another view:

    80% of the couples who are no longer married were either High or Moderately Compatible!
    67% of the couples who are still married are either Moderately or Low Compatible!

    Exactly the same data, just presented slightly differently. And note again that, because of your very small sample, the only difference between these numbers is a single respondent. Notwithstanding all of the methodological problems, your numbers are entirely consistent with your astrological compatibility assessments making absolutely no difference whatsoever.

    1. Paul, I greatly appreciate your comment. I have nothing but the utmost respect for science and scientists. My son is working on his PhD at Stonybrook and recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation. I am just a blogger who loves facts and data, but this was all done for fun.

  3. Agreed with #2. Another issue I’d had: you’re using astrology as a gauge of personality to measure the health of marriages. But before you use that tool to measure anything, you need to make sure the tool itself is accurate.

    It’s like saying, “I’m going to measure how far it is in feet from here to the end of the block. This stick on the ground is probably a foot long. So if I use this stick, I’ll know exactly how far it is in feet.” But since you haven’t first measured your stick against a reliable, precise foot-long standard, you don’t know if it’s a foot long. It could be too short or too long — so therefore you can’t say with any accuracy that your results have meaning.

    Your idea is that (1) your astrological sign is somehow related to specific combinations of traits in your personality, and (2) those traits mesh well or poorly with other combinations of traits in other people, (3) thus looking at your sign can predict a healthy marriage or unhealthy marriage. First you need to calibrate your measuring stick: determine whether or not your astrological sign actually IS related to your personality.

    To do that, you’d need to prove that planetary bodies millions of miles away can affect human beings — specifically, star constellations and other planets in our solar system. Also that they can affect individual human beings. Also you need to prove these far, far, distant planetary bodies can somehow exert forces that affect individual human babies. And you need to measure these forces, and determine the mechanism by which these forces could possibly lock in certain personality traits at the moment of a baby’s birth. Moreover, you need to prove that the force exerted by these distant planetary bodies locks in extremely specific personality traits, like whether a newborn infant is going to grow up many years later to be a generally quiet person or a boisterous person at parties, or a sneaky person when cornered or always honest. Because that’s what astrology means: when I was born, the position of the planets and star constellations determined what kind of man I was going to be.

    There isn’t any provable mechanism by which that can happen — as an example, the position of a planet cannot be scientifically proven to have had any influence whatsoever on whether or not I’m “reliable,” “easily bored,” or “absent-minded” (allegedly Aquarian traits). There is no physical, rational mechanism by which the constellation of Aquarius somehow sent a force down upon the earth while I was being born and determined that I would be “generous to a fault.”

    Astrological profiles are fun but they’re exercises in Confirmation Bias, something all humans use to rationalize the complexity of the world around us. When you read these profiles, you acknowledge the traits that confirm what you already think, take note of the things that seem to apply and mold them to fit your preconceptions, and ignore the misses.

    They seem specific, but the more closely you examine them the more you can see they’re cleverly written to be vague enough to appeal to many people. A quick glance at two separate Aquarius profiles online tells me I’m either an extrovert or an introvert. Two of the terms I used above — “reliable” and “absent-minded” — both came from the same profile, even though I’d argue those things are mutually exclusive. Another profile says I should have a “strong streak of anarchy,” yet further down the paragraph I have a “zealous love of democracy.” Another chart goes so far as to insinuate that the planets and stars when I was born determined what my physical features would be years later, saying that I should be “stronger and taller than the average male.” I’m 5-foot-6 and weak.

    Other elements sound like me, because astrological profiles use flattery (“intellectual”) or left-handed flattery (“generous to a fault”). They cater to our ideal visions of ourselves, how we think we are (negative or positive) and how we want to be seen by others. I like to think I’m “independent, friendly, progressive, open-minded and idealistic.” But who wouldn’t want to think that about themselves? Who reads “open-minded” and says, “Nope, that’s not me”? I’m supposed to have “good command of language.” I’m a writer and editor, so that must mean it’s true — but frankly who would ever reply “no” to that, saying “No, actually, I have a poor command of language”? Or: “Relationships with severely jealous types are usually doomed to failure.” True, but when do relationships with severely jealous types ever work for anyone? If by chance someone ever does reply in the negative to a flattering term, Confirmation Bias will have you forget that miss because you’ll be preoccupied with another “eerily accurate” hit in the next paragraph.

    Sorry, this is long, but my point is that astrology is a fun psychological game to explain the messy stew of nature and nurture that makes up people’s personalities. It’s entertainment, not an accurate predictor of anything. Therefore using it as your measuring tool to gauge anything can only yield inaccurate results.

    1. But before you use that tool to measure anything, you need to make sure the tool itself is accurate.

      I’m not sure this is necessarily true. So long as all of the independent variables are controlled, it would be possible to look for a correlation between astrological signs and compatibility, and for that to be useful. Because, in fact, any correlation that was detected would be between compatibility and times of the year when people were born. That would still be useful, and would say nothing about cause. If there were a demonstrable correlation – for the sake of argument – then those people who believed that astrological aspects were causal would need to make a case.

      I have no idea if any such correlation exists (it seems not), but – again for the sake of argument – there’d be a million other more likely places to look than astrology: for example, developmental changes caused by changes in ambient temperature throughout the year, pollen count, daylight hours, etc., etc. As you say, there’s no known mechanism that would account for the positions of stars and planets being significant. But correlation between compatibility and time of year of birth isn’t in itself quite as out of the question.

  4. Anna M Cabal · · Reply

    hey !!! que paso con (paul??? whose blog is this??

  5. […] hypothesizing that the dismal results of marital fidelity and bliss are directly tied to poor Astrological Harmony. Being a lover of all things factual, it took me some time to accept Astrology as a real science, […]

  6. […] hypothesizing that the dismal results of marital fidelity and bliss are directly tied to poor Astrological Harmony. Being a lover of all things factual, it took me some time to accept Astrology as a real science, […]

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