I grudgingly admit to reading the horoscopes. Not every day, and not in every publication, but if I happen to be thumbing through a magazine with horoscopes at the end, I’ll read mine. Why not? And of course they’re always somewhat true, given that they’re vague enough to apply to just about anyone — although I do happen to exhibit many of the tendencies of a typical Taurus (or so I’ve read). One of my problems with horoscopes, though, is that they seem to assume that everyone born within a 30(ish)-day period is alike. That just seems silly to me, as there are certainly more than 12 types of people in the world. But perhaps one’s birthday actually does dictate certain characteristics about them — in fact, science now seems to suggest that this is true. According to new research, the season of one’s birth affects one’s mood.
A study presented by Hungarian scientists last week at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (my new favorite word) suggests those born in the summer are at a greatly increased risk of developing mood disorders. Scientists have apparently known for some time that the season of one’s birth does affect certain neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin, both of which affect and control mood. This led the scientists to wonder whether someone’s birth season has any longer-lasting effects. They looked at more than 400 subjects and correlated their birth seasons to their adult personalities.
They don’t yet know if there are genetic markers that might illuminate the link between moods or mood disorders and birth season, but they did make some interesting correlations in their study. Those who experience frequent and rapid mood swings, or have “cyclothymic” temperaments, were most often born in summer; far fewer of the winter-born participants had such mood swings.
Those who characterized themselves as “excessively” positive, or have “hyperthermic” temperament, were also much more likely to be born in the summer and/or the spring. Participants who said they rarely experience irritability tended to be born in the winter, and those born in autumn exhibited a much lower rate of depressive moods.
This is by no means causal proof, but the correlations are interesting. The scientists believe it’s entirely possible that the season of one’s birth increases one’s risk of developing certain temperaments (it doesn’t guarantee anything, of course). And one’s environment naturally plays a huge part in determining temperament, but the scientists are confident that one’s birth season does play a role in personality development. Maybe the horoscopes know something we don’t after all, but I doubt it.
Just to make sure, I headed over to astrology.com to see what it says about today. Here goes: “You’re a little protective of someone or something, but it may be coming across as possessive. Try to let go, or at least allow more freedom than you have been. It should all work out.” Perhaps I’m too protective of my belief that horoscopes are bunk? And perhaps in writing this post, I’ve let that go. Or maybe not.