Cross-cultural differences in the acceptance of Barnum profiles supposedly derived from Western versus Chinese astrology

Paul Rogers, Janice Soule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examines cross-cultural differences in the Barnum effect. At Stage 1 of the study, 287 respondents (comprising 149 Westerners and 138 Chinese nationals) provided birth details and completed a belief-in-astrology questionnaire. At Stage 2 a week later, 258 of these (130 Westerners, 128 Chinese) then completed a second belief-in-astrology questionnaire before receiving a Barnum profile supposedly derived from either Western or Chinese astrology, which they rated for, among other things, perceived accuracy (a) for themselves and (b) for other people in general. Preliminary analysis offered initial support for a universal Barnum effect. However, this disappeared after respondent gender, age, general education, and psychological knowledge were controlled for. Further analyses revealed little support for cross-cultural differences in either astrological beliefs or susceptibility to the Barnum effect, although surprisingly, Chinese nationals who believed in astrology did perceive their own (Barnum) profile to be more accurate for people in general than did Chinese skeptics. Finally, Barnum acceptance was not influenced by the apparent source of profiles. The role these factors play in relation to Barnum susceptibility and methodological limitations of the present study are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-399
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2009


  • cross cultural differences
  • Western astrology
  • Chinese astrology
  • Barnum effect
  • Astrology
  • Cross Cultural Differences
  • Personality


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