McGrew & McFall (1990)

Astrologers and a psychologist matching birth data to case files

6 professional counseling astrologers nominated by the Indiana Federation of Astrologers (IFA) and a control subject (a psychologist) were asked to match the birth data of 23 subjects aged 30-31 years to anonymized case files containing their personal information.  The astrologers had been asked what kind of information they required to this purpose and a specific 61-item questionnaire had been drawn up for the collection of the information.  The case files included also photographs so that the astrologers could see body type and the computer-scored summaries of two standardized psychological tests (the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory – form T325 and the Cattell 16 P.F. – Form) to provide information on general interests, potential vocations and personality traits

The correct matches achieved by astrologers ranged from 0 to 3(most frequent: 1); the psychologist achieved 3 correct matches.  In other words, none of the assessors performed at a level that was significantly better than chance. 

What is more, there was no consistency in the replies provided by the astrologers, whose replies appeared to be due to chance. 

The authors of the paper came to the conclusion that “the astrologers probably could have done just as well if they had matched the birth information with the case materials in a random manner”


This study was performed more than 30 years ago.  Today I do not think that any astrologer would accept to participate in an investigation where birth times were based on birth certificates alone i.e. were not rectified by separate astrologers in order to be reliable (approximation +/- 1 minute).

Other flaws were the inclusion of only young adults who may not have fully manifested the potentials that could be seen in their astrological charts, and failure to specify the astrological techniques to be used for the matching.  It cannot be ruled out that different astrological techniques might have been more effective.

In conclusion, according to me also this study is inconclusive.