Knock on wood, study corroborates superstitious

Athletes are known for employing superstitious rituals to help them maintain productivity, or get out of a spell of poor performance. Michael Jordan wore the same University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform at every game, NBA player Jason Terry wears the shorts of the next team he is going to play to bed the night before games and baseball Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game of his 18-year career. While these superstitions are hardly taken seriously by those outside of professional sports, a new study, Reversing One’s Fortune by Pushing Away Bad Luck, shows that superstitions might hold more weight than previously thought.

The study, conducted by researchers at the National University of Singapore and the University of Chicago, tested the idea that superstitious acts reduce perceived negative outcomes of an event. The results suggest that superstitious rituals that involve exerting force away from one’s body evoke a sense of dispelling bad luck, like you are physically pushing the bad luck away from you.

Researchers used 5 experiments to test their theory, comparing typical fixes for bad luck, like knocking on a table, to random actions, like tossing a ball in the air, to see which dispelled negative thoughts. Their study concludes that superstitions rituals comfort people for a few reasons. First, they give the person who is engaging in the action a sense of control over the situation. Secondly, the action that goes along with superstitions, like knocking away from oneself, reduces the perceived impact of a potentially negative event because the superstitious action makes a person feel as though they have avoided a harmful situation.

While the study is carful to point out that superstitious actions will not minimize the likelihood of negative events actually occurring, they can impact one’s sense of control and the perception of foreseen harm. Further research could show how superstitious actions can be used to manage superstitious events.

Read the full study at the National University of Singapore.

Did you get your free issue of the Intelligent Optimist?  Click here for a free download.

Solution News Source

Knock on wood, study corroborates superstitious

Athletes are known for employing superstitious rituals to help them maintain productivity, or get out of a spell of poor performance. Michael Jordan wore the same University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform at every game, NBA player Jason Terry wears the shorts of the next team he is going to play to bed the night before games and baseball Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game of his 18-year career. While these superstitions are hardly taken seriously by those outside of professional sports, a new study, Reversing One’s Fortune by Pushing Away Bad Luck, shows that superstitions might hold more weight than previously thought.

The study, conducted by researchers at the National University of Singapore and the University of Chicago, tested the idea that superstitious acts reduce perceived negative outcomes of an event. The results suggest that superstitious rituals that involve exerting force away from one’s body evoke a sense of dispelling bad luck, like you are physically pushing the bad luck away from you.

Researchers used 5 experiments to test their theory, comparing typical fixes for bad luck, like knocking on a table, to random actions, like tossing a ball in the air, to see which dispelled negative thoughts. Their study concludes that superstitions rituals comfort people for a few reasons. First, they give the person who is engaging in the action a sense of control over the situation. Secondly, the action that goes along with superstitions, like knocking away from oneself, reduces the perceived impact of a potentially negative event because the superstitious action makes a person feel as though they have avoided a harmful situation.

While the study is carful to point out that superstitious actions will not minimize the likelihood of negative events actually occurring, they can impact one’s sense of control and the perception of foreseen harm. Further research could show how superstitious actions can be used to manage superstitious events.

Read the full study at the National University of Singapore.

Did you get your free issue of the Intelligent Optimist?  Click here for a free download.

Solution News Source

SIGN UP

TO GET A Free DAILY DOSE OF OPTIMISM


We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. Privacy Policy