Measuring superstitious belief: Why lucky charms matter

R Wiseman, C Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A large body of research has attempted to develop theories about the function and origin of superstitious beliefs on the basis of the psychological correlates of such beliefs. Most of this work has measured superstitious belief using the Paranormal Belief Scale (PBS). However, this scale refers solely to negative superstitions (e.g., breaking a mirror will cause bad luck) and omits items referring to positive superstitions (e.g., carrying a lucky charm will bring good luck). The two studies reported here found significant interactions between belief in negative and positive superstitions, and several individual difference measures. These findings have important implications for theory development, demonstrate that the PBS is an incomplete measure of superstitious belief, and highlight the need for future measures to include items referring to positive superstitions. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1533-1541
Number of pages9
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume37
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

Keywords

  • superstitious belief
  • paranormal belief
  • paranormal belief scale
  • positive superstition
  • negative superstition
  • PARANORMAL BELIEFS
  • CHILDHOOD TRAUMA
  • ANXIETY
  • SCALE
  • EXPERIENCES
  • THINKING
  • LOCUS

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