The power of magical thinking: Why superstitions are hard to shake

Posted on November 11, 2015

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Even smart, educated, emotionally stable adults believe in superstitions that they recognize are unreasonable.

In a paper from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Review, Associate Professor Jane Risen finds that even when people recognize that their belief does not make sense, they can still allow that irrational belief to influence how they think, feel and behave.

Risen contends that detecting an irrational thought and correcting that error are two separate processes, not one as most dual-system cognitive models assume. This insight explains how people can detect irrational thought and choose not to correct it, a process she describes as “acquiescence.

Certain variables create situations in which intuition is likely to override rational thought. For example, people may acquiesce if they can rationalize their intuition by thinking that a particular situation is special. Acquiescence may also be more likely if the costs of ignoring rationality are low relative to the costs of ignoring intuition–as with people who receive a chain letter; they acknowledge it is irrational to believe that breaking the chain brings bad luck, but still forward the letter.

Follow the link below to read the full article.

Category(s):Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Fear

Source material from Psy Post

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