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How reading your horoscope can derail your diet


Most major newspapers publish daily horoscopes, and for good reason - even when we deny being superstitious, human nature drives us to believe in our own fate.

Unfavourable horoscope ups likelihood of giving into indulgences

According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, consumers who believe that their fate can change are more likely to exhibit impulsive or indulgent behaviour after reading a negative horoscope.

"Given the prevalence of horoscopes in Western cultures, we looked at the influence one's horoscope might have on the decisions that person makes," wrote the research authors.

In a study participants were presented with an unfavourable 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 unfavourable horoscope increased the likelihood of that person going to the party.

Interestingly, the researchers observed that the act of counter-arguing the unfavourable 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 unfavourable horoscope should result in an attempt to improve their fate," the authors conclude. "Our results showed that reading an unfavourable horoscope actually has the opposite effect on a person."

So if you’re on a diet, replace your daily horoscope reading habit with reading weight loss tips…your slimmer future self will thank you!

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