Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition
Although we live in a technologically advanced society, superstition is as widespread as it has ever been. Far from limited to athletes and actors, superstitious beliefs are common among people of all occupations and every educational and income level. Here, Stuart Vyse investigates our proclivity towards these irrational beliefs. Superstitions, he writes, are the natural result of several well-understood psychological processes, including our human sensitivity to coincidence, a penchant for developing rituals to fill time (to battle nerves, impatience, or both), our efforts to cope with uncertainty, the need for control, and more. Vyse examines current behavioral research to demonstrate how complex and paradoxical human behavior can be understood through scientific investigation, while he addresses the personality features associated with superstition and the roles of superstitious beliefs in actions. Although superstition is a normal part of human culture, Vyse argues that we must provide alternative methods of coping with life's uncertainties by teaching decision analysis, promoting science education, and challenging ourselves to critically evaluate the sources of our beliefs.
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abnormal actions adults American American Psychiatric Association appears asked associated astrology athletes availability heuristic Bobo chance chapter cognitive coincidence college students common contiguity culture death described dice dream effect exam example experiment experimenter fear Go For Wand horoscope human illusion of control illusory correlation important individual influence involved irrational large numbers learning less locus of control lottery luck lucky Magical Ideation magical thinking methods objects observed obsessive-compulsive disorder Opie and Opie outcome paranormal beliefs participants particular Pascal's Wager percent Piaget pigeons placebo play players popular probability problem produced psychic psychological questions random rational reinforcement relationship religious reported response result rituals roll Rosenhan schizophrenia schizotypal schizotypal personality disorder scientific sequence similar skeptics Skinner social stition suggests super superstition superstitious behavior superstitious beliefs superstitious person Table theory things thought ticket tion Tobacyk Wade Boggs winning