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Reading Horoscopes May Diminish Willpower

Update Date: Dec 10, 2013 05:02 PM EST

Reading horoscopes may cut down your willpower, a new study suggests.

People who believe their fate can change are more likely to show impulsive or indulgent behavior after reading a negative horoscope, according to a new study.

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

Participants in the latest study were presented with a negative horoscope and asked to choose between either a treat (going to a party) or a righteous alternate (cleaning their home).

The findings revealed that people who believed they could change their fate were more likely to go to a party after reading a negative horoscope.

Researchers explained that because the act of undoing the unfavorable horoscope required mental resources, this left fate-changers unable to resist temptation. However, those who believed in fixed fate were able to stay focused on the day ahead because they did not need to exert any mental energy on the subject.

"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," researchers concluded. "Our results showed that reading an unfavorable horoscope actually has the opposite effect on a person."

The findings will be published in the Journal of Consumer Research

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