Friday Factoid: Superstition and Behaviorism

Sarah Watts, MS

WKPIC Doctoral Intern


Why do we have to wear the same socks to every baseball game? What makes us have superstitions, or unjustified beliefs in supernatural causes, for the outcome of different events. According to behavioral theorist, B. F. Skinner (1948), superstitions come from our behaviors being accidentally reinforced or rewarded. You wore your lucky socks and your baseball team won!



Skinner, B. F. (1948). ‘Superstition’ in the pigeon. Journal of Experimental Psychology38(2), 168–172.

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