224.365 - August 12, 2010

In one study, participants were presented with an unfavorable horoscope and then asked to choose between either an indulgence (going to a party) or a virtuous alternate (cleaning their home). The results showed that for people who believe they could change their fate, an unfavorable horoscope increased the likelihood of that person going to the party.
Interestingly, the researchers observed that the act of counter-arguing the unfavorable horoscope required mental resources and left the fate-changers unable to resist temptation. Participants who believed in a fixed fate did not exert any mental energy on the subject, and were consequently able to stay focused on the day ahead.
“Conventional wisdom might suggest that for people who believe they can change their fate, an unfavorable horoscope should result in an attempt to improve their fate,” the authors conclude. “Our results showed that reading an unfavorable horoscope actually has the opposite effect on a person.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene or a story where your protagonist makes an unlikely decision based on a bad horoscope.

Journaling Prompt: Do you believe in fate?

Art Prompt: Horoscope

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about superstitions that flourish today. 

Photo Credit: meddygarnet on Flickr

2 Responses to Prompt #882 The Paradox of Horoscopes

  1. Suzanne Lucas says:

    Hi Liz,
    Your writing prompt reminded me of a blog post I had written a while back about my horoscope. Thought I’d resurrect it for your reading.

    Have a very merry Christmas and all the best to you and yours for 2014.

    http://www.timessquared.net/1/post/2013/03/my-daily-horoscope-needs-fine-tuning-or-a-money-back-guarantee.html
    Suzanne Lucas recently posted..No Opposable Thumbs? No Problem!My Profile

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