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Whether you believe in astrology or not, scientists have discovered there may be a link between our birth date and the way our personality develops.

The research shows that a person's season of birth can influence not only personality, but also mental health.

Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, told London's Telegraph his studies indicated a correlation between the season a person was born in and their opinion on how lucky they believed they were.

"It is exactly what you would expect if it were temperature related," he said.

"Many of the effects reverse in the two hemispheres."

Studies have found that women born in the northern hemisphere during May are likely to display more impulsive behaviour, while those born in November will be more reflective.

In New Zealand therefore, the findings are likely to be the complete opposite: women born in November would be expected to display impulsive behaviour, while those born in May would be more reflective.

Similarly, men born in spring are likely to show greater persistence than those born in winter.

Other research concluded that people born in autumn tended to be more physically active while those born in spring were often more analytical.

Panic attacks are more likely to occur in people born between September and December (or March - June in the southern hemisphere) and there is growing evidence that schizophrenia is higher among those born in late winter and early spring.

Astrologers claim the findings are proof the stars influence our personalities, but scientists believe there are biological reasons for the results.

Professor John Eagle, a psychiatrist at Aberdeen University who has studied the links between season of birth and mental health, told the Telegraph: "The two main culprits & are diet and the seasonal fluctuations in nutrition, and the increase in infections during the winter. There are genetic factors and other environmental reasons that play a role, so the season of birth is just a contributing factor."

Professor Jayanti Chotai, at Umea University in Sweden, backed up Professor Eagle's findings, telling the Telegraph his own research had suggested that the levels of hormones produced by pregnant women changed depending on the season their child was born in.

"The variations & are explained by the seasonal variations in our solar system. For example, winter has less sunlight and lower temperatures and the epidemics of virus infections are more prevalent," he said.

- NZ HERALD STAFF