It’s the second Friday the 13th of the year and for those of you who suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th) you won’t be pleased to hear there’s another to come in June. Whether you believe today is unlucky or not, there are plenty of other superstitions held by people across the UK, so we decided to take a look at some research which explores them further.
More than 60 million people worldwide are claimed to suffer from a fear of Friday the 13th and according to research 14 million adults regularly carry out superstitious behaviour, like touching wood and avoiding cracks in the pavement.
A survey conducted by Prof Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire revealed that 77% of people were at least a little superstitious or carried out superstitious behaviour and surprisingly 25% of these people had backgrounds in science.
Here are some of the most popular superstitions among those surveyed:
- Touch wood 74%
- Fingers crossed 65%
- Avoiding ladders 50%
- Smashing mirrors 39%
- Carrying charm 28%
- Number 13 26%
What’s most interesting about Wisemans study is that he discovered that people with certain types of personality are more likely to be superstitious than others.
Apparently, people who tend to worry about life are far more superstitious than others – “50% of those surveyed who claimed to be worriers were very/somewhat superstitious.” It also appeared that people who have a strong need for control in their lives are far more superstitious than others who don’t – “42% of people indicating high need for control were very/somewhat superstitious”.
Wiseman also discovered a significant gender difference, with 51% of women saying that they were very/somewhat superstitious compared to just 29% of men. Wiseman suggests that this might be due to “women having lower self-esteem and less perceived control over their lives, than men.”
Finally Wiseman asked participants about their personal superstitions, to which 25% of respondents admitted to having. These ranged from wearing lucky t-shirts and having lucky numbers. He did, however, find some more unusual behaviors and beliefs, such as:
- Avoiding staying in the bathroom once the toilet has been flushed.
- Drawing a smiley face in a free pint of Guinness.
- Leaving a house by the same door used to enter.
- Never having the volume on a car stereo set to volume 13.
- When a clock has matching numbers, such as 12:12, having to say 1212 out loud.
- When seeing a hearse, touching your collar until you see a bird.
How do you feel about superstitions and do you think certain personality types are more likely to believe them than others? Maybe you have a strange personal superstition- let us know in the comments section below
To see more from Richard Wisemann’s report visit his website here