Superstitions increase confidence


Offical White House Photo by Pete Souza

After their meeting with the President, Katie Beirne Fallon, Director of Legislative Affairs, and Shaun Donovan, Director Office of Management and Budget, knock on wood–the Resolute Desk–in hopes that the budget would pass through Congress.

Alexis Colucci

For someone born on Friday the 13th, I am just as superstitious as one might expect. I knock on wood, avoid walking under ladders and only pick up pennies for good luck if they land on heads.

I do not remember when my superstitions began; it was just part of my life and beliefs as I grew up, as it is for many other people. According to a WebMD article entitled, “Superstitions Boost Confidence, Performance,” that is not a bad thing.

The article, published in the journal “Psychological Science,” outlines an experiment in which researchers from the University of Cologne tested how believing in superstitions help boost positive feelings.

The researchers designed four experiments to test how 151 university students’ beliefs in luck influenced their performance in memory, golf, motor dexterity and anagrams. For the first experiment, students had to hit a target using a “lucky ball” and a normal ball. The students who believed they were golfing with the “lucky ball” hit the target more often than the students who were told they had the normal ball.

Practicing certain rituals and avoiding others can help achieve success, especially for athletes and performers but also for everyday people. It also shows how people use superstitions to avoid bad luck.

For example, the article “Happy Friday the 13th: Celebrities & Their Superstitions” affirms whenever “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston boards a plane, she boards with her right foot first and always knocks the outside of the plane to ensure she lands safely.

“The Office” star, Rainn Wilson, refuses to say the word ‘Macbeth’, in regards to the play because it is common in theaters to avoid it. He accidentally said the name of the play once, and a stage light fell on his foot, seriously injuring him, according to the same article.

This study and celebrity superstitions are linked. Believing in superstitions can have benefits, increase poise and augment happiness; as long as they are looked at positively. So, the next time you walk near a ladder or find a penny, follow your superstitions.