Okay, admit it – you have some kind of lucky charm on you, in your car or in your house. And if you participate in any sport or performance activity you have some sort of ritual that you believe will help make you more successful. Well guess what – there is research to show that such charms and rituals really do help you perform better. Find out how in this episode of The Psych Files.
Resources on Superstitions
- Damisch, L., Stoberock, B., & Mussweiler, T. (2010). Keep your fingers crossed! How superstition improves performance. Psychological Science, 21, 7, 1014-1020.
- "Fingers Crossed" summarized on Science Daily
- "Fingers Crossed" summarized by U.S. News
- Buhrmann, H.G., & Zaugg, M.K. (1981). Superstitions among basketball players: An investigation of various forms of superstitious beliefs and behavior among competitive basketballers at the junior high school to university level. Journal of Sport Behavior, 4, 163–174.
- Darke, P.R., & Freedman, J.L. (1997). Lucky events and beliefs in
luck: Paradoxical effects on confidence and risk-taking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 378–388.
- Day, L., & Maltby, J. (2003). Belief in good luck and psychological well-being: The mediating role of optimism and irrational beliefs. The Journal of Psychology, 137, 99–110.
- Day, L., & Maltby, J. (2005). “With good luck”: Belief in good luck and cognitive planning. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 1217–1226.
- Gilovich, T. (1991). How we know what isn’t so: The fallibility of human reason in everyday life. New York: Free Press.
- Keinan, G. (1994). Effects of stress and tolerance of ambiguity on magical thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 48–55.
- Lobmeyer, D., & Wasserman, E.A. (1986). Preliminaries to free throw shooting: Superstitious behavior? Journal of Sport Behavior, 9, 70–78.
- Shah, J. (2003). Automatic for the people: How representations of significant others implicitly affect goal pursuit. Journal of Per- sonality and Social Psychology, 84, 661–681.
- Whitson, J.A., & Galinsky, A.D. (2008). Lacking control increases illusory pattern perception. Science, 322, 115–117.