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Monday, October 21, 2013

Sense and Superstition

By JANE L. RISEN and A. DAVID NUSSBAUM
The New York Times
Published: October 4, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

Research finds that people, superstitious or not, tend to believe that negative outcomes are more likely after they “jinx” themselves. Boast that you’ve been driving for 20 years without an accident, and your concern about your drive home that evening rises. The superstitious may tell you that your concern is well founded because the universe is bound to punish your hubris. Psychological research has a less magical explanation: boasting about being accident-free makes the thought of getting into an accident jump to mind and, once there, that thought makes you worry.

That makes sense intuitively. What’s less intuitive is how a simple physical act, like knocking on wood, can alleviate that concern.

The entire story is here.
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