Photo: Jennoit (flickr)
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.
- Fingers Crossed! (Observer)
- Keep Your Fingers Crossed: How Superstition Improves Performance (PsychologicalScience)