Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition

Lucky numbers. Chain letters. Psychic predictions. Wade Boggs’s obsessive eccentricities before each game. The lure of The X-Files and Stephen King. Although we live in a technologically advanced society, superstition is as widespread as it has ever been. Here, Stuart Vyse examines current behavioral research to demonstrate how complex and paradoxical human behavior can be understood through scientific investigation. Vyse then argues that we must provide alternative methods of coping with life’s uncertainties by teaching decision analysis, promoting science education, and challenging ourselves to critically evaluate the sources of our beliefs.

How do otherwise rational people come to put their faith in such ephemera? Believing in Magic addresses this provocative question, taking a fascinating look at the psychological underpinnings of superstition. 15 illustrations.