How often has been that you were chided by your friends and family for being superstitious? Well, the next time anyone even things of chiding you, you can defend yourself saying science is on your side. Basically, scientists have come to the conclusion that certain superstitions might actually be good for you. For example, touching wood to ward off bad luck can actually help ward off the negative feeling someone might have about a particular situation. By doing so, it is fully possible that a negative outcome can be averted completely.
The details of this experiment have been elaborated on, in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. It explains that, when someone believes something negative like a car accident can never happen to them, they are setting themselves up for just that. This is where a ritual like touching wood can help because it can get rid of the negative thought that has crept into your mind. In fact, it has been discovered via this experiment that superstitions that involve the transference of negative energy away from someone are the most effective.
Come to think of it the whole thing makes perfect sense, but this also means that this thing will only work on those, who choose to believe in such superstitions in the first place. If you are someone who is a skeptic and doesn’t believe any good will come of things like touching wood to ward off evil, it would be impossible to get rid of your negative thoughts via this process. It’s all in the mind as they say. On the other hand, it is a great day for especially those who believe in superstitions that involve pushing away bad luck because these according to the study are the most effective.
The researchers carried out a series of experiments in order to make their case. The experiment primarily involved getting a set of participants to knock on (away from themselves) wood or throw a ball and then got another set of participants to grip a ball and knock up wood (towards themselves). It was observed that the participants who threw the ball or knocked on wood believed they had gotten rid of their bad luck because these actions involved transferring energy away from themselves.
Jane Risen, one of the researchers, elaborated on this finding saying: “avoidant actions that exert force away from one’s representation of self are especially effective for reducing the anticipated negative consequences following a jinx.” So keep knocking on wood, if you know what’s good for you.