Superstition as a psychological placebo in top sport

M.C. Schippers, P.A.M. van Lange

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    Abstract

    The current research addresses the psychological benefits of superstitious rituals in top sport, examining the circumstances under which top-class sportspersons are especially committed to enacting rituals prior to a game (ritual commitment). Consistent with the hypotheses, findings revealed that ritual commitment is greater when (a) uncertainty is high rather than low; and (b) importance of the game is high rather than low. Complementary analyses revealed that the state of psychological tension mediated both effect of importance and uncertainty on ritual commitment. Moreover, players with an external locus of control exhibited greater levels of ritual commitment than did players with an internal locus of control. The results are discussed in terms of the tension-regulation function of superstitious rituals in top sport. © 2006 Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2532-2553
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
    Volume36
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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