MAGICAL THINKING AND SUPERSTITIOUS BEHAVIOUR

mind map looking at magical thinking and superstitions, explanations

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  • Created by: alice
  • Created on: 15-12-12 23:29
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  • MAGICAL THINKING AND SUPERSTITIOUS BEHAVIOR
    • Magical Thinking
      • Where meaning is attached to objects or actions so they gain special magical properties
      • Costs of Magical Thinking
        • Magical thinking is associated with a number of mental illnesses. Its a characteristic listed for schizotypal personal disorder and schizophrenia (Weinberger and Harrison, 2011)
        • Yorulmaz et al. (2011) ---found magical thinking was a critical factor in OCD -people with strong magical belief reported more checking symptoms
      • Benefits of Magical Thinking
        • Magical thinking may lead people to deal more confidently with their environment because they expect good things to happen as a result of their beliefs and actions
        • It acts as a placebo; creates a positive expectation and this alone accounts for improvements
        • Rosenthall and Jacobsen (1968) ---showed that children's IQ test scores increased over a year because the teachers were led to expect them to do better (self-fulfilling prophecy)
      • Lack of Magical Thinking
        • People who are depressed show less magical thinking, called depression realism. suggesting that a fully accurate assessment of ones own abilities may not be good for you (Hutson, 2008)
        • Mohr et al. (2005) ---linked lack of magical thinking to low levels of dopamine; dopamine is high in schizophrenics and believers in the paranormal
      • Pronin et al. (2006) ---Asked students to put pins in voodoo dolls in order to make a target get a headache. The intended victims (stooges) then acted as if they had a headache
        • Half of the ppts saw their victim acting stupidly before, so presumably felt a greater annoyance when pushing the pins -later these ppts reported feeling much more responsible for the headache
        • The pin pushing and headaches are a coincidence but a persons awareness of what they were thinking made it appear that their 'magical thoughts' were the cause
      • Explanations
        • Animism
          •  Pre-operational stage 1 characteristic mode of thinking is called animism (where children ascribe their feelings onto physical objects)
          • Lindeman and Aarnis (2007) ---relate magical thinking to animism , e.g. feng shui
        • Nominal Realism
          • According to Piagest (1954) a further characteristic of pre-operational thought is nominal thinking, where children have difficulty seporating the names of things from the things themselves
          • Rozin et al. (1986) ---poured sugar from a commercial container into 2 glasses and labeled them 'sugar' and 'cyanide'. Ppts who had observed the glasses being filled were still reluctant to drink from a glass labeled as poison
        • Psychodynamic Explanation
          • Freud (1913) identified magical thinking as a form of childlike thought, projecting their inner feelings onto the other world
          • In adults it's a defense mechanism, they regress to a former child-like state as a means of coping with anxiety
        • Duel Processing Theory
          • Magical thinking is based on a child's mode of thought which is intuitive (lacking internal logic)
          • There are 2 modes of thinking: intuition and logic (internally-consistent reasoning
    • Superstitious Behavior
      • Behaviorist Explanation
        • Skinner (1947) proposed that superstitions develop through operant conditioning when an accidental stimulus-response link is learned
          • Operant conditioning is the first stage in learning superstition. The second is that its maintained through negative reinforcement *repeating the superstition action reduces anxiety
        • Skinner (1947) ---placed hungry pigeons in a cage. A few minuets each day a mechanism delivered food at regular intervals. The birds behaviour did not affect the timing of the food, ritualistic behaviours were observed proceeding the food
          • Skinner offered the explanation that radom behaviours became reinforced by the food, to the pigeons they appeared to cause the food, even though they didn't
          • When the food didn't come when the behaviour occurred. it didn't lead to unlearning because when the behaviour was correct it was enough to maintain the superstition
        • Staddon and Simmelhag (1971) repeated Skinner's study ---observed similar ritualistic behaviours but they realised the behaviours were unrelated to the food reward
          • A detailed record showed that around the time of food presentation the pigeons were acting in the same way. The ritualistic movements occurred at other times and as much before any food reinforcement
        • Matute (1996) ---exposed ppts to uncontrollable noises being emitted from a computer in a library. Ppts tried pressing different buttons to stop the noise. The noise eventually stopped but not because of the ppts actions
          • When the noise started again ppts tried pressing the same key they had done when the noise had stopped the first time. -they assumed there was a cause when there was none
      • Illusion of Control
        • Whitson and Galinsky (2008) ---Ppts were asked to recall situations. Group 1 were asked to recall times when they felt in control. Group 2 times when they felt a lack of control. They were then given stories involving a superstitious behaviour and asked to judge how much this affected the eventual outcome
          • Ppts who were made to feel less in control were more likely to believe the superstitious behaviour affected the outcome
            • Suggests that the illusion of control has benefits as it makes us actively confront unpredictable circumstances rather than withdraw
        • Damish et al. (2010) ---Demonstrated the value of self-belief. Found the activation of good-luck superstitions led to enhanced performance on various tasks (e.g. motor dexterity and memory)
          • Suggests that superstitions of good-luck improve self-efficacy
      • Superstitions are beliefs that are not based on reason or logic
      • Type 1 error: rejecting the null hypothesis when it's true; Type 2 error: accepting the null hypothesis when its false.
        • Better to assume casuality between unrelated events that happen at the same time (type 1) rather than miss a real one (type 2)

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