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Investigating the Relationship Between Superstious Belief and Control

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In times of uncontrollability, there is evidence to suggest that individuals tend to invoke superstious beliefs. Anecdotal evidence has also suggested that highly superstitious people believe that they have a level of control over situations where they objectively have none. For example, some people have lucky charms that they believe allow for a greater sense of perceived control of external factors.
Locus of control has often been used to explain the relationship of perceived control and superstious belief and has been dichotomized as internal or external (Rotter, 1966). Whereas an internal locus of control is inherent of the belief that all events are due to internal dispositions, an external locus of control believes that events are a result of other people, or chance/luck. This concept is associated with the ‘Learned helplessness explanation’ (Abramson et al., 1978; Maier & Seligman, 1976). What this explanation proposes is that participant’s attribute the uncontrollability of a situation to internal dispositions i.e., they display an internal locus of control, and, by extension, denote failure as a result of not having any control over the situation. Contrastingly, individuals who don’t succumb to the learned helplessness effect are those who place failure outside the realms of their own self. I.e., they present an external locus of control. This has been validated by Dudley (1999), who found that participants with a higher level of superstition demonstrated less of
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