Give Now

A Moment of Science

Scientists Test Their Luck By Testing Luck

Scientists find that good luck charms may actually help bring about more positive outcomes.

fingers_crossed

Photo: Jennoit (flickr)

Superstitious relics and rituals can give us a boost of confidence before facing a particularly daunting task.

Stevie Wonder warns us that “superstition ain’t the way,” but this new scientific study begs to differ!

Actually, people who feel blessed with good luck do perform better in various mental and physical tests. Good luck charms come in a wide (and sometimes kooky) variety of forms: a rabbit’s foot, a four-leaf clover, even lucky underpants!

In this experiment, test subjects who were given “lucky” golf balls putted more skillfully than those with regular, old golf balls. Behavior commonly believed to promote luck, like keeping your fingers crossed, also helped participants perform better in a dexterity test.

Of course, it’s more than sheer luck that gave these people the power to succeed. It’s all in the psychology of luckiness. Superstitious relics and rituals can give us a boost of confidence before facing a particularly daunting task.

Scientists certainly wouldn’t tell you to rely on these lucky charms for everything, but if it gives you that extra pinch of courage, we say go for it!

After all, science is the only magic that works.

Read More:

Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, and for more A Moment of Science updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science