Yet another test of the truth of astrology -- one of the most voluminous and scientifically rigorous tests to date -- has concluded that the occult art is no better at determining someone's personality than is random guessing.

What makes this test special is that it was designed and conducted by a leading German astrologer, P. Niehenke, the chairman of a German astrological society. Niehenke concluded that his test failed to discover any truth to astrology.

Niehenke, however, did not give up his belief in astrology. "The desire for astrology to be true," he wrote, "is much stronger than all rational counterproofs."

The study was published in an astrological journal called Meridian and reported in the Skeptical Inquirer, the journal of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, an American group.

Niehenke's study, carried out for his doctoral dissertation in psychology at the University of Freiburg, overcame one of the most common criticisms professional astrologers level at tests of astrology's accuracy -- that the tests are too simplistic. Earlier tests, generally done by skeptics, considered only sun signs and not the more complex elements of the art.

Niehenke cast fully detailed horoscopes for 3,259 volunteers and compared them with the answers each gave to a detailed standard questionnaire that sought to elicit personality traits. A computer kept the information and prevented Niehenke from knowing which horoscope went with which questionnaire.

The Skeptical Inquirer called Niehenke's methods "unimpeachable science" but noted that in refusing to forsake belief in astrology, "he has failed to live up to his empirical standard."