Jim S. Sly

Date of Graduation

Summer 2014


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Melissa Fallone


Previous research has found that belief in superstition improves performance on tasks, which is mediated by increased levels of self-efficacy. In this study, participants (N = 171) were given two questionnaires to measure their preexisting belief in: general superstition (Revised Paranormal Belief Scale); personal luckiness, and luck (Belief in Luck and Luckiness Scale); as well as a questionnaire to measure their locus of control (Internality, Powerful Others, and Chance Scale). To activate the good-luck superstition, the success feedback sequence on a series of 30 computer-animated coin toss predictions was manipulated so participants received either an ascending, descending, or random feedback of successes. Participants then completed an unrelated anagram task. The results of the current study indicated that simply experiencing a lucky event did not improve the participant's self-efficacy, nor did it improve the participant's performance on the unrelated anagram task. However, belief in luck did serve as a moderating factor for levels of self-efficacy in participants after experiencing the ostensibly lucky event. Possible reasons for the discrepancy in findings between the current study and those of prior research are discussed, including: i) the reliability and validity of the Belief in Luck and Luckiness Scale, the Revised Paranormal Belief Scale, and the Internality, Powerful Others, and Chance Scale; ii) the correlation between these three scales; and iii) the experiment's mode of administration (online opposed to seated).


luck, superstition, chance, self-efficacy, moderation

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© Jim S. Sly

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