The effect of superstitious thinking on psychosocial stress responses and perceived task performance

Lasikiewicz, Nicola, and Teo, Wan Yee (2018) The effect of superstitious thinking on psychosocial stress responses and perceived task performance. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 21 (1-2). pp. 32-41.

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Abstract

Previous research on superstitious belief, a subset of paranormal belief (Irwin,), has suggested that people tend to invoke luck-related superstitions in stressful situations as an attempt to gain an illusion of control over outcomes. Based on this, the current study examined whether luck-related superstition, in the form of a “lucky” pen, could influence the psychological response to a psychosocial stressor. Participants (N = 114), aged between 17 and 59 years (M = 22.98, SD = 4.57) from James Cook University Singapore, were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) no-stress with no lucky pen; (b) no-stress with a lucky pen; (c) stress with no lucky pen or; (d) stress with a lucky pen. The results revealed that participants provided with a lucky pen experienced lower state anxiety when exposed to the stressor. Further, participants provided with a lucky pen perceived their performance to be better than those without it. However, superstitious belief did not significantly change following exposure to stress. Taken together, the present findings add some support to the suggestion that belief in transferable luck may facilitate coping with a stressor. However, further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind the potential benefits of superstitious belief.

Item ID: 58659
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1467-839X
Keywords: anxiety, appraisal, belief, performance, psychosocial stress, superstitious thinking
Copyright Information: © 2018 Asian Association of Social Psychology and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd
Funders: James Cook University, Singapore
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2019 08:12
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 100%
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