Astrology and Psychology Look at Introversion-Extroversion

Zip Dobyns

I have been acting as Adjunct Professor for Vida Gaynor who has just completed a Ph.D. in a combination of psychology and astrology. Vida’s background includes accounting and volunteer work for equal rights, raising kids and living for some years in Africa. A long time curiosity about astrology finally led to becoming a professional astrologer and the decision to return to college for the degree in psychology. Vida’s dissertation included a project I had wanted to see carried out, and I am enormously pleased that it has been accomplished.

The basic research effort included giving 5 psychological questionnaires to over 50 subjects, getting a self-rating from the subjects, and having three professional astrologers analyze the horoscopes of the subjects. The goal, in all the questionnaires, ratings, and analysis was to place the subjects somewhere on a scale of introvert to extrovert. These constructs, originally conceptualized by Carl Jung, have been widely used in psychology. I wanted to see whether different psychological questionnaires which supposedly were measuring the same construct would agree with each other; whether they would agree with the individual’s own self-concept; and whether astrologers could evaluate horoscopes and arrive at significantly similar results. The design was a “scatter-gun” approach, basically exploratory, to see what could be done or what would happen. Vida has sent a summary of her work to Kosmos, the journal of the International Society for Astrological Research, and we could also publish her full report if space permits.

The five psychological questionnaires included the MMPI, a well-known and very long one that has a scale on social introversion as a part of its profile. Another was the Eysenck Personality Inventory, a short questionnaire developed in England and used in some of the more recent Gauquelin research (described in the Virgo issue of The Mutable Dilemma) as well as in a study carried out with Jeff Mayo, a well-known English astrologer. Still another questionnaire was the 16 PF, developed by Cattell in Illinois using factor analysis. This instrument also provides a profile on a person across several dimensions, and includes the introversion-extroversion construct as a higher-order factor. Then Vida used two questionnaires supposedly developed specifically from the ideas of Jung: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and the Gray-Wheelwright questionnaire.

Subjects were asked to rate themselves as very introverted, somewhat introverted, in the middle, somewhat extroverted, or very extroverted. The three astrologers were asked to rate the horoscopes, using the same five categories. In the end, Vida combined the two levels of introvert and the two levels of extrovert to have three groups. The center group is usually called ambivert, but was not recognized as such in Jung’s work until later in his life. Most of Jung’s concepts were dichotomous, assuming polarization though he recognized some potential for a continuum. I had taken all the questionnaires myself while in graduate school except for the Wheelwright, and had gotten very mixed results, coming out extrovert on some and introvert on others. I expected a fair amount of scatter among all the results, because of this personal experience, but wanted to see whether any one of the questionnaires was written in such a way that astrologers could rate a chart and get significant correlations. All the psychological questionnaires came out highly correlated with each other. All the astrologers came out highly correlated with each other, even though we had one siderealist who also used a different house system from the other two astrologers. All the questionnaires except the Eysenck inventory (EPI) correlated well with the subjects’ self rating. All the astrologers had a high correlation with the Cattell 16 PF. One astrologer had a low correlation (.05) with the EPI. None of the astrologers correlated well with the self-ratings. ??? The Pearson r, used by Vida to make the analysis, may not be the most appropriate statistic for the data.

We would like to replicate the study, this time limiting ourselves to the 16 PF and asking the subjects to do a self-rating for their childhood as well as how they see themselves at present. The astrologers will also be asked to rate the horoscopes twice; once for the natal (used in Vida’s work) and once using whatever form of current patterns are preferred. It might be interesting to have more astrologers try their hand at rating the 50 subjects in Vida’s study. If any of our readers want to try the project, drop us a note. A small donation to cover photo copies of the charts and postage would be appreciated, but is not mandatory. If you have more time than money, and want to try the challenge, just let us know. It would also be helpful if those who try will send astrological factors they use in making their judgments. The high correlation between the three astrologers in Vida’s project was apparently due to the fact that all three astrologers weighted planets first, aspects second, and put less emphasis on houses and signs. They knew about Gauquelin’s work.

I think the years ahead will be exciting and fun, as we explore new techniques in astrology and new ways to relate to psychology. No one has any final answers at this point. We need to use scientific method without becoming caught in materialistic premises which could limit our view. It is impossible to function without some kind of premises or beliefs. We just need to be clearly conscious of our beliefs, and hold them tentatively, subject to revision if contrary evidence challenges them. But we do have to know the limits of scientific method. Any single research design can only hope for a one-sided fraction of the picture. Any single group of subjects or single instrument can only provide a small part of a huge jigsaw puzzle. We need to keep open and patient and grounded.

Just as the preceding material was ready to go to press in the Virgo issue of The Mutable Dilemma, we had a visitor from Australia; the well-known Geoffrey Dean, author of Recent Advances in Natal Astrology. Geoffrey suggested that the statistical procedure used was not as appropriate as the Chi Square, and he and Mark got a chi square program running on our computer. The success of the astrologers in judging horoscopes as introverted or extroverted was less significant, using the chi square. Although there were significant correlations, in view of the number of comparisons being made, some of a large number can be expected to be significant by chance. The whole area of scientific method, belief in chance (scientifically known as “probability theory,”) randomness and statistical techniques is being increasingly questioned by scientific theorists. Statistics is not one of my strong points, but I know that different statistical methods can get different results. My current feeling about the project is that it was a very valuable exploratory effort, and that in spite of the statistical correlations between the psychological questionnaires, there was still a lot of scatter in the results. Probably the clearest indication of the scatter is shown by the limited number of subjects who got the same results on all the psychological questionnaires. Fifty-four subjects completed at least four of the questionnaires while 44 completed all five measures. Of these, only 8 subjects received the same rating on all their measures; 6 individuals who completed all five and two more individuals who completed four questionnaires.

The vagueness of the psychological construct and the continuum nature of it, certainly contributed to the results. Of the 8 people who got consistent results, 6 were introverts and 2 were extroverts. There were no subjects who scored ambivert on all tests. The 8 consistent subjects also were consistent in their self-ratings, all of them agreeing with the psychological questionnaires. Unfortunately, the astrologers did not do so well on these supposedly clear cases. All three astrologers agreed with the consensus in only one case. Two of the astrologers agreed with the questionnaires and self-rating in four other subjects. But two of the solidly introverted subjects were judged extroverted by two of the astrologers. It looks as if we have a ways to go before we can hope to correlate consistently with most psychological questionnaires. Even with the 16 PF, the questionnaire most highly correlated with the astrologers’ judgments, out of 162 judgments (3 astrologers and 54 subjects), only 74 were in agreement. The statistical procedure used takes into account the closeness of the guess as well as whether it is strictly accurate, so there is a better correlation if an introvert (l on the scale) is called an ambivert (2) than if he is called an extrovert (3). But my general impression in looking at the results is that we have quite a lot yet to learn.

Although I still want to carry out another project with the 16 PF, we have been presented with a great opportunity to try again to judge horoscopes as introvert or extrovert as measured by Eysenck’s questionnaire, the EPI. Geoffrey Dean has gathered the birth data of 160 individuals who have scored at the extremes of Eysenck’s measure. Some are extreme extrovert or extreme introvert, and some are extremely stable and some extremely emotionally unstable. Some of the 160 individuals scored at extremes on both scales, while some were high or low in only one, so there are 60 high subjects in each of the four possibilities. By eliminating the middle of the road, it may be easier for astrologers to judge the horoscope in these terms. I am working on the project myself (but in view of time pressures do not expect to finish it very soon) and anyone who wants to participate is invited to write us. We can’t underwrite the cost of the charts and postage, but if anyone is willing to send $7 to cover photocopying and postage, we will be happy to send you the 160 charts along with instructions which include the Eysenck concept of the variables: introversion, extroversion, stable minded, and unstable. Geoffrey Dean wants to get all the answers at once as there is more chance of statistical significance with larger numbers of subjects. But if some of the astrologers attempting the project would like to use it for a learning experience, I could send out the answers for the first 40, let the participants see if they want to revise any of their guesses based on the results with the first 40. Then we could send out the second 40 and go through the same re-evaluation, and see if we could improve our scores on the last 40. Any takers out there? Open season; anyone can play. We are trying to get some psychics to make the same judgments without knowing any astrology, just very quickly circling the quality that feels right when they look at the chart. It may also be possible to get some individuals who do not know any astrology and who do not consider themselves psychic to try the judgments to see if chance really works.

The years ahead will be exciting ones as we explore to find out what we can and can’t do with astrology. To repeat what was said above: we don’t know what we can do until we try. All learning comes through experience. With computers increasing in capacity and becoming available to more astrologers; with individuals who have been trained in scientific methods coming into the field to help, we expect a vast improvement in astrology in the next few years. We may have to discard a lot of junk in the old traditions, and we may discover new techniques and factors that will clarify the picture. The astrology of the 21st century may be as far ahead of ours today as we feel ahead of Ptolemy, and our efforts are needed to contribute to the new astrology.

Postscript on Synchronicity

Jung coined the word and used it for “meaningful coincidence.” That is, when things happen together or in rapid succession, but one is not “causing” the other, yet they share a common meaning and seem somehow connected. I have planned to go to Australia in Jan. 1982. The plans were firmed up in the spring of 1981 when I was invited to speak at the conference held there every other year. Up to the time of that decision, we had never had a house guest from Australia. In the fall of 1981, we have had three Australians as guests; Geoffrey Dean, mentioned above; Maurice Silver, founder of an astrological association and school in Melbourne, one of the cities I had planned to visit; and Austin Levy, who runs a computer service in Sydney, another of the towns I planned to visit. My air tickets for those two cities had been purchased before I knew of either Maurice or Austin’s name or intent to visit Los Angeles. We enjoyed the visits of all three astrologers from “down under,” and I am anticipating my trip there with much greater delight as a result of having friends already there to meet me. I’ve never really cared for stopping with synchronicity as a concept. I think we live in a meaningful and orderly world, and there are no coincidences.

Our visit with Austin Levy included a chance to hear about the second English conference on research in astrology that was sponsored by Hans Eysenck. Apparently, the general tone in the scientific community is still centered on a search for material forces to explain astrology. As Austin pointed out to them, they also tend to expect more results from astrology than they do from the comparable social sciences including psychology. Astrology is not in the ballpark of the physical sciences. But at least the scientists at the conference are looking at the evidence. One piece of good news came from Beverly Steffert who has gotten very high statistical significance in comparing Sun signs of married couples who filled out questionnaires rating their marital happiness. Looking at each sex individually, there was no significance, but when they combined the couples, they got very high significance. For details, readers will have to wait for the article that Austin has promised to write for The Mutable Dilemma.

Austin was also testing one of his own ideas, checking to see whether the degree of clustering of planets in a chart was significant. He had worked out a simple mathematical formula to get a figure between zero and one hundred. If there were stelliums and conjunctions in a chart, a high figure would result. If the planets were widely spaced in the circle, there would be a low figure. Neither zero nor one hundred is possible. The latter would mean that all planets were conjunct, while the former would mean all planets were spaced 36 degrees apart around the circle, using the ten basic ones; no asteroids or angles. Austin was eager to try the idea on a large sample of data, and had his chance in San Diego at Astro Computing. In a very short one day visit there, Tom ran 26,000 charts for their centricity, and got statistical results that were off the page in the tables in the textbooks. The “normal” group, using Gauquelin’s data on married couple, parents, grandparents, etc., ran an average of 28 on the scale. The professionals, a variety of famous individuals in several vocations, averaged around 32. The difference does not sound much, but with that many thousand, it is important. Also, almost none of the ordinary individuals got really high scores, while the professionals were turning up many scores up into the 60s. A more complete report will be forthcoming in a future issue of The Mutable Dilemma. Austin and Tom Shanks plan to continue the study and to report it fully in the English journal on astrological research as well as to let us publish it in the U.S. Like everything in astrology research, when you limit your attention to one factor, you need a large sample to get statistical significance. The most we can hope for in such a “one-at-a-time” research technique is about 10% variance, yet that is the primary approved technique in science. Of course, practicing astrologers use many factors and look for the repeated message.

Austin and Tom’s results provide an example of the limits of the “one factor at a time” approach. The high Mars vocations showed less centricity than the painters and musicians. Astrologically, that makes sense. The individuals with strong inner confidence and drive, shown by the Mars in high focus, do not need the emphasis shown by high centricity. Either pattern can indicate a person with above average potential. There is no need for both in one chart.

I have suggested to Austin and Tom that individuals with serious problems might also show high centricity (a tendency to have stelliums or clusters of planets close together). I would expect a u shaped curve, with high centricity on both ends, the people who are functioning at a high level with extraordinary abilities, and the people who are intense but not handling their conflicts. We’ll share the results when we get them. Keep tuned!

Copyright © 1981 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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