Methodological and theoretical improvements in the study of superstitious beliefs and behaviour

Scott M. Fluke, Russell J. Webster, Donald A. Saucier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Via four studies (N = 901), we developed an improved Belief in Superstition Scale (BSS) composed of three distinct components (belief in bad luck, belief in good luck, and the belief that luck can be changed), whose structure was supported through exploratory (Study 1) and confirmatory (Studies 2 and 3) factor analyses using divergent samples. We found that among theoretical predictors, higher 'chance' locus of control (i.e., the belief that chance/fate controls one's life) best predicted all three BSS subscales (Studies 2-3). In Study 3, we found that BSS subscale scores were reliable, but largely invariant across age and education with a non-general psychology sample. In Study 4, the BSS subscales best predicted participants' superstitious attitudes and behaviour in a new lottery drawing paradigm among other commonly used superstition scales. Taken together, our results indicate that the BSS is a valuable addition to the burgeoning research on superstitious attitudes and behaviour.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-126
Number of pages25
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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