If you think knocking on wood to divert doom is just an empty superstition, think again. A recent study showed that it can help quell anxiety about future events.
If you think knocking on wood to divert doom is just an empty superstition, think again.
A study conducted at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business showed that participating in ritual measures can help quell anxiety about possible future bad luck.
According to the study, once people tempt fate and put the jinx out there, they’re apt to fixate on it.
By taking action against the perceived coming ill will, people’s expectations are altered.
Engaging in superstitious remedies can make individuals feel that they’ve kept evil at bay and allow them to stop thinking about it.
Some methods work better than others, though.
Researchers found that study participants reported having different feelings about how well they’d avoided the imminent bad luck depending upon what type of action they took.
The study’s author said, “…we find that avoidant actions that exert force away from one's representation of self are especially effective for reducing the anticipated negative consequences following a jinx."
Measures that were particularly successful at making people feel like they’d successfully pushed bad luck away included knocking on wood, throwing salt, and spitting.