Superstitions are such beliefs which are linked to supernatural causality that one event causes another and two events are linked without any natural process. The superstitions includes as astrology and certain religion related aspects like omens, witchcraft and prophecies, that contradict natural science. The word superstition is generally used to refer to the religion not practiced by the majority of a given society regardless of whether the prevailing religion contains superstitions. It is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prediction, and certain spiritual beliefs particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific although apparently unrelated prior events.
Ms. Amina Javed is currently working as a Clinical Psychologist at Willing Ways, Lahore. In 2015, she completed her MS in clinical psychology, from Centre Clinical Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore. She had training of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, Behavior Therapy and she is interested in Dialectic Behavior Therapy as well.
Editor: Mr. Nadeem Noor
Whether we would be superstitious or not it depends on our locus of control. If we have internal locus of control and believe that we are in charge of everything; the master of our fate and could make things happen. If we have an external locus of control, we would be sort of knocked by life, and things happen to you instead of the other way around. People with external locus of control are more likely to be superstitious, possibly as a way of getting more power over their lives. Even in today’s modern society, women still feel that they have less control over their fate than men do and this is why women are believe to be more superstitious.
Behavioral scientist, B.F. Skinner explained the apparent superstitious behaviors of his pigeon’s. One pigeon was making turns in its cage, another would swing its head in a pendulum motion, while others also displayed a variety of other behaviours. Because these behaviors were all done repetitively in specific manner in an attempt to receive food from a machine, even though the machine had already been programmed to release food at set time intervals irrespective of the pigeons’ actions. Many other psychologist’s challenged the Skinner’s theory regarding superstition nature of the pigeons’ behaviour. Despite challenges to Skinner’s interpretation of the root of his pigeons’ superstitious behaviour, his conception of the reinforcement schedule has been used to explain superstitious behaviour in humans. It could be explained more precisely in such a way that whenever an individual performs an action with an expectation of reinforcement, and none seems forthcoming, it actually creates a sense of persistence within the individual. This strongly matches superstitious behaviour in humans because the individual feels that, by continuing this action, reinforcement will occur; or that reinforcement has come at certain times in the past as a result of this action, although not all the time, but this may be one of those times.