Measuring superstitious belief: why lucky charms matter

by R Wiseman, C Watt
Personality and Individual Differences ()
  • ISSN: 0191-8869


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

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