By Edward Snow
Researcher finds statistically significant correlation between character traits identified by astrology software program and famous French psychological test
Sometimes the answers to important questions are only steps away but manage to remain hidden for decades.
French Canadian research astrologer Vincent Godbout recently rediscovered a book, Rene Le Senne’s Traite De Characterologie, gatheringdust on a shelf in his home library. He describes the volume as a “hidden treasure.”
“For about 40 years the book was right in front of my eyes, hiding in plain sight,” he says.
Godbout is a former professor of mathematics and statistics and was designer of the PERMAMA masters program for the University of Quebec. He co-authored three courses: Mathematics and Human Activity, Mathematical Contributions of Antiquity, and Problem Solving. And he authored a French adaptation of Thomas and Finney’s Differential and Integral Calculus.
In his phantom job as a research astrologer Godbout developed the Mastro Expert software program with colleague Francois Rouleau. This system swiftly identifies and organizes the descriptive key words professional astrologers use when delineating individual birth charts. Word lists generated by the system are based on planetary placements and aspects and incorporate insights gleaned from the work of leading astrologers from Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
Effectively, the Mastro Expert word lists correspond to an individual’s specific personality or character traits. To test the program’s efficacy, Godbout initially compared astrological word lists (profiles) created for 42 international celebrities with a harvested list of descriptive key words extracted from published biographies for the same celebrities. The biographies published in Le Monde, a leading French newspaper.
The idea was to determine if the astrological word list created by Mastro Expert for celebrities like former U.S. President Bill Clinton matched a list of descriptive key words used in his published biography. To sort this, Godbout created the Semantic Proximity Estimator, a totally automated process that evaluates the semantic proximity between the astrological and biographical word lists.
The Estimator analyzes the extent to which compared words say or do not say the same things, and provides numerical scores to rank how well the word lists match up. For example, when the astrological word list prepared for former President Clinton was blindly compared with the biographical word lists for all 42 celebrities in the study, the former President had the highest score with his own biography. Statistically, there was only one chance in 42 that this outcome would occur, but Godbout counted seven additional matches in which the celebrities’ top astrological and biographical scores were a match.
There was a six in 100,000 probability this result occurred by chance. And this impressively significant statistical result improved significantly when the second, third and fourth highest scores were added to the tally.
As expected, critics raised credibility issues with the test and criticized the subjective way descriptive key words were identified in the celebrity biographies. Godbout acknowledges he didn’t have a convincing response for critics until he happened upon Le Senne’s book, which had languished undisturbed in the collection of books he accumulated when he started studying astrology in the 1970s.
Rene Le Senne was a French philosopher, metaphysician and psychologist and was a professor at the Sorbonne in Paris when his signature book on characterology (character traits) published in 1945. According to Godbout, Le Senne’s typology method was widely used in France, Belgium and other francophone countries in the last century, but his work is less well known in the U.S., Canada or elsewhere in Europe.
What excited the researcher was the fact that Le Senne published more than 300 psychological profiles for celebrities in his book, including 244 profiles for which Godbout was able to find accurate birth times. Effectively, this meant he could create 244 timed celebrity birth charts and have their psychological character descriptions immediately available for model building.
Godbout’s research was all about matching astrological word lists generated by Mastro Expert with psychological descriptions produced by Le Senne’s methodology. Making this possible was another pioneer in the characterology movement, the late French psychologist Gaston Berger, who developed a psychological questionnaire keyed to specific character traits identified by Le Senne.
“In the research I compare psychological descriptions from the Berger test with psychological descriptions based on astrology profiles, comparing word lists as before. The big difference is the fact that the psychological descriptions in the Berger test are much more precise and rigorous,” he explained.
Godbout created a model (word lists) for each of three fundamental personality factors described by Le Senne: active, emotional and resonance. The latter (resonance) identifies traits that are either primary or secondary. The secondary type is systematic and, in deliberations, inclined to consider the past and future. The primary type lives more in the present.
The emotional individual is someone whose emotions are intense and frequent while the non-emotional type is rarely or shallowly disturbed. The active type can execute what they want to do, and moves from idea to action to with relative ease. The non-active individual can act, and even act powerfully, but tends to postpone the execution of what doesn’t motivate or interest them.
Fundamentally, a person can be either active (A) or non-active (nA); emotional (E) or non-emotional (nE); primary (P) or secondary (S). Within the three basic or fundamental types are eight possible combinations: The Dynamic (EAP); The Passionate (EAS); The Reactive (EnAP); The Sentimentalist (EnAS); The Realist (nEAP); The Balanced (nEAS); The Nonchalant (nEnAP); and The Placid (nEnAS).
Godbout says he created a model for each of the three fundamental factors (activity, emotionality, resonance). The models are comprised of word lists that best match the astrological charts cast for the celebrities corresponding to each factor as classified by Le Senne. The Semantic Proximity Estimator compares these lists with the psychological character descriptions created for individuals taking the Berger characterology test.
“Assume the result of the Berger test identifies the individual as a very active person. From this single observation concentrated in the word activity I use the standard list of character traits associated with the active type. It is the standard list associated with the trait activity that I compare with the list of psychological traits based on the individual’s astrological chart,” he said.
The research astrologer says his long term research goal has been to showcase the validity of astrology by demonstrating that a fully automated system based on astrological tenets can produce personality or character profiles that agree in substance with similar profiles created by a respected psychological test. This hadn’t been possible until the current decade, which has seen advancing automated systems continue to expand research horizons, he added.
A Stunning Result
Godbout describes a test given to 85 subjects taking the Berger test. To enhance participation in the test the researcher elected to limit questions asked to a single factor, in this case questions aimed at determining whether the subject exhibited secondary or primary characteristics. Despite the small number of subjects, validation for the secondary/primary type “gave a stunning statistical result.”
There are two types of successes in a study of this kind. In this particular example, there were the positive successes that occurred when the astrology model gave a secondary verdict and the Berger test said the same thing. And there were negative successes that occurred when the astrology model concluded there was no secondary verdict and the Berger test agreed.
“Out of 85 subjects, we observed 33 positive successes and 24 negative successes for a total of 57, which adds to a combined success rate of 67 percent. With such a small sample size the probability of observing such a result by pure chance is less than two in 1,000, which is something exciting.
“My dream of establishing the validity of astrology in a completely automated way is gaining momentum,” he said.
About the author