In his book on superstition, Vyse (1997) observed that it is difficult to define superstition and its dictionary definition is not sufficient. He also noticed that in defining superstition the critical problem is the avoidance of value judgments. Unfortunately, he did not provide a comprehensive definition of his own. The following definition of superstition which is based upon the work of Vyse (1997) and Marmor (1956) is proposed: superstition is a belief, or a set of beliefs, that specific actions can directly influence the occurrence of desirable outcomes or the avoidance of undesirable outcomes when, in fact, the action are not causally related to the outcomes.
More than it, a superstition is a practice or a belief that is made to influence an outcome, is based upon a mysterious or an unknown force and is contradictory to scientific knowledge available within a culture. Thus, in ancient Egypt the work was based upon the “science” of the time because studying astrological signs made sense. However, American’s decision to make a purchase in a twenty first century after reading her or his horoscope is a superstitious behavior. The question arise that why superstitious behavior still exhibit in people?
The literature actually provides three alternative definitions. First, from operant conditioning perspective, superstitious behaviors and beliefs can result from chance associations of behaviors with punishers and reinforcers. (Skinner, 1948; Wagner and Morris, 1987). According to cognitive learning perspective, by adopting superstitious behaviors and beliefs it can help an individual to understand his environment by providing an explanation and reasoning for inexplicable and unfamiliar phenomena (Keinan,2002). Finally, superstitious beliefs provide illusion of control to individual that helps them to reduce anxiety. Consistent with these themes, Jahoda (1969) proposed that superstitious functions accompany uncertainty as a mean by which people reduce the anxiety and stress.
Similarly, Vyse (1997) proposed that when risk and uncertainty are high or in instances in which circumstances cannot be controlled, people may employ superstitious actions as a mean of attempting to control and influence these outcomes. In American, culture has been a frequent assumption that superstitious thought and behavior characterize those who are uneducated, primitive (Frazer,1941 ; Jueneman,2001; Vyse, 1997), or suffering from a mental disorder (Fishbein, 1930). These types of superstitious beliefs has been investigated in the psychological literature, the focus has tended to be on examing its relationship with mental disorders (Eckblad and Chapman,1983;Epestein, 1991; Epstein and Meier, 1989).
A 2003 Harris Poll revealed that 31% of those believed in astrology (Taylor,2003). Similarly, in the 2004 Science and Engineering Indicators report, the National Science Institute Foundation reported that 30% of Americans read their horoscope occasionally and 15% read their horoscope very often (National Science Foundation, 2004).
High involvement decisions are also influenced by these superstitions beliefs. For example, the number of weddings scheduled on 7\7\07 , in order to capitalize on lucky number 7 increased dramatically in United States (Moran,2007). Including Europe and Asia belief in astrology is also prevalent in other areas of the world. For example, Kramer and Block (2007) reported that Taiwanese consumers were willing to spend nearly 15% more money for their product when the price point met to the lucky number 8. The author suggest that when people look for signs of bad or good luck or take action to influence chance outcomes, they are using superstition as a heuristic device that acts as a short cut in the decision making process.
Superstitions are those irrational belief or supernatural causality: that one event link to another event without any physical process. So, superstitious belief refers to an activity or ritual which can have a negative or positive impact on the events in person’s life. There is no evidence which support a superstitious belief. Attempts to define and explain superstitious beliefs have appeared throughout Western history, especially in the areas of religion, psychology and anthropology. Ancient Greeks and Romans give it a Latin word “SUPERSTITIO” to give an account of activities they felt to be meaningless.
HELEN L. PARISH and WILLIAM G. NAPHY, protestant accused Catholics in the era of Reformation because of superstitious belief. For example, Protestant accused publicly as superstition the respect of saints, lighting candles to find favor with God and saying a set number of prayers for penance. During the 18th century at the Age of Enlightenment opposition to superstition was the intellectual central corner.
At that time philosophies included much of Christian Doctrine considered these beliefs like miracles, magic, revelation, supernatural as “superstition” as a ridiculed belief. In 15th century the word superstition used in English, modeled after an earlier French superstition. Actually French word, together with its Roman cognates continues Latin superstitio. The formation of the Latin word is clear, as it is derived from the verb super-state, “stand upon; survive, to stand over”, here its actual sense is less than clear. It can be interpreted as “standing over a thing in awe”, but other possibilities would be, for example, irrational religious habits, over-ceremoniousness in the performing of religious rites, over-scrupulousness, or else the survival of old. The term supertitio, was applied to those religious cults which were officially outlawed in the Roman Empire in the 1st century.
A carpenter happened another deal to land while carrying a nail in the pocket which he had forgotten there. He notices that nail. After that he came back to home, watched his wife happy about something, took off the jacket, and noticed the nail again. He associated his lucky day with this item. Next day he kept that nail with him in every important event. Religion also plays a significance role in some kind of superstition belief. Before Christianity popular people believed in multiple gods, and one of the powerful of them was representing the sun as a source of light, and, thus, is also seen as a source of life. So due to this people light all the corners of their house with an Easter candle the whole year will be considered as the lucky one. So some superstition rituals as such came from the old religious activities. Due to emergence of new religion most of such beliefs had forgotten, some of them had found their place in the new world view.
For example, in the times when the first mirror became available to the people breaking a mirror was considered a very disappointing thing because mirrors were so expensive that time. Naturally, people saw nothing good in breaking one. Same situation related to spilling salt. In old era salt was considered as one of the most expensive and precious thing in the household. So, such superstitions were just a way for people to teach their children to admire what they have. Generally superstitions have personal, religious, or cultural background. They do have a logical explanations is the common feature of all. When the superstition originated there key to explanation is always in world-view of the times and in beliefs. Simply; superstitions resulting from ignorance or fear of unknown and it is an irrational belief or practices. Belief in the power of magic and witchcraft are the validity of superstitions such as spirit and demons.
Superstition is the notion, ritual or act that derived from such belief. Like in the Middle Age, a common superstition was that when the person was sneezing during the unguarded moment a devil could enter in a person; if immediately any one present appeared to the name of God. This tradition still remains today of saying when someone sneezes “God bless you”. Superstitions can be cultured that came from people and pass to one another. Great source of superstitions are the myths, scholars, cultures, elders, imaginative stories, leaders and governments. There are some common superstitions which have a negative impact on people are as below. Types of superstition belief.
Spilling salt over your shoulder. [Is supposed to damage the evil]. If a cat heard crying, it’s a bad omen.
The opening the scissors and closing it without a reason causes family problems at home. Don’t drink milk after eating fish, said to cause severe skin problem. You can’t cut nails at night.
Kids shouldn’t let any one walk over them otherwise they will stop growing. Never call one back when the person is leaving the house.
If you dream about buffaloes and horses its bad luck.
Fluttering of eyes. Even that indicates the happening of good and bad in their lives. If you broke the glass it’s a sign of happiness.
If there is itching on the right palm you can get some money or favors. When the owl sings it’s a sign of bad luck.
When a dog howls, someone is going to die in the neighborhood. If we are walking and see a black cat cross in front of you, it’s bad luck Knocking on wood.
Walking under a ladder.
Wearing different kind of stones in specific fingers.
A four leaf cloves and so on….
People had a lot of beliefs that directly contradict to the philosophy of their own religion. Some people claims that they have no superstitions but they likely to do something which they cannot explain. Feeling of lack of control in people upon their life, many people tried to impose structure and order on the world, to hide their mistakes by blaming luck. Passing down through generation to generation of these superstitions it can change their validity regarding evolutionary process. Some of the older form of superstitions have long been a part of lore and are now the examples of misguided beliefs.
These superstitious beliefs are not valid but people still believe in it. Part of the reason seems to be just because other people tell them these things are true. Some these kinds of irrational beliefs have been around for many generations. Sometimes everybody with the same cultural background practically believes them. If the claims are not true and people recognize that these superstitions are false but they can’t stop passing them on. In spite of difficulties, many people still believe in superstitions. Culture of some country such as culture of Western country also believes in superstition that deemed irrational. GLOBALLY.
When our ideas or faiths are not based upon scientific explanations, we call them superstitions. In past, when people saw the red horizon of the west during the sun-set, they called it an indication of anger of Gods and Goddesses. They expected high flood or cyclone or any epidemic to occur. It was nothing but a superstition. People are afraid of the number 13. They think that it is an inauspicious number so they do not begin any good work on this date. Some people do not like to stay in the room which bears the number thirteen, hi past”, Malaria and cholera -were believed to be the results of God’s displeasure and curse. There-were many superstitions in past. They were all born ignorance. The causes of some events were unknown due to ignorance.
So, people believed that those events were caused by invisible being. People worshiped stones and trees in order to be cured of diseases. They thought that some evil spirits were responsible for all kinds of troubles in the world. They worshipped Gods and Goddesses to be free from earth quake,-cyclone and flood. Sometimes they killed human beings and other animals and satisfied Gods. In India, cat is an ominous animal. If a cyclist or motorist notices a cat on the way, he stops and retreats a little. There is no reason why only a cat is feared on the way. In Europe they had many superstitions. People did not walk under a ladder which was kept against a wall.
They did not start any important work if they heard the sound of thunder. A crow or vulture flying over head was considered very dangerous. It indicated death. In past, -Kings and emperors consulted the soothsayers, in their court before doing any Work. If the soothsayers gave negative signal no work was done. Julius Ceasar of Rome was a superstitious emperor. Cicero, the greatest Roman orator, lost his life by trusting the superstition regarding crows. Nature was a mystery for man in past. The functions of nature, laws of the universe etc. were not discovered in those days. So man thought himself as a plaything of an uncontrollable force. If that force is beneficent, man gets peace and lives happily. That force is sinister then his life becomes miserable. Man believed in fate. Very often superstitions are connected with religion.
Indians are very God fearing. In this country, many superstitions ail linked with religion. People observe Thursday and do not take non-vegetarian food on this dry. The Hindus believe that they can be rich by observing Thursday which is specific day of Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Pigs are hated in certain religion. The moon was considered a Goddess. Lunar eclipse was believed a§ a curse of God. So it is globally proved that superstitions are still existed in our own society as well as all over the world http://www.preservearticles.com/201104265986/sample-essay-superstitions.html
Objectives of the Study
This study is being carried out to achieve certain objectives which are: 1. To examine historically common superstitions in students of iiui. 2. To analyze as well as highlight the reasons why most of the students still believe on such perceptions. 3. To appraise the extent of the impact of these practices of superstitions on the studies and behavior of students.
Research questions of the study.
What are the historical common superstitions in students?
What is the reasons behind superstitions among students?
What are the impact of these beliefs on the behavior and studies of students?
Superstitious Pigeons. One of Skinner’s experiments examined the formation of superstition in one of his favorite experimental animals, the pigeon. Skinner placed a series of hungry pigeons in a cage attached to an automatic mechanism that delivered food to the pigeon “at regular intervals with no reference whatsoever to the bird’s behavior.” He discovered that the pigeons associated the delivery of the food with whatever chance actions they had been performing as it was delivered, and that they subsequently continued to perform these same actions. One bird was conditioned to turn counter-clockwise about the cage, making two or three turns between reinforcements. Another repeatedly thrust its head into one of the upper corners of the cage. A third developed a ‘tossing’ response, as if placing its head beneath an invisible bar and lifting it repeatedly.
Two birds developed a pendulum motion of the head and body, in which the head was extended forward and swung from right to left with a sharp movement followed by a somewhat slower return. Skinner suggested that the pigeons behaved as if they were influencing the automatic mechanism with their “rituals” and that this experiment shed light on human behavior: The experiment might be said to demonstrate a sort of superstition. The bird behaves as if there were a causal relation between its behavior and the presentation of food, although such a relation is lacking. There are many analogies in human behavior. Rituals for changing one’s fortune at cards are good examples. A few accidental connections between a ritual and favorable consequences suffice to set up and maintain the behavior in spite of many unreinforced instances.
The bowler who has released a ball down the alley but continues to behave as if she were controlling it by twisting and turning her arm and shoulder is another case in point. These behaviors have, of course, no real effect upon one’s luck or upon a ball half way down an alley, just as in the present case the food would appear as often if the pigeon did nothing—or, more strictly speaking, did something else. Modern behavioral psychologists have disputed Skinner’s “superstition” explanation for the behaviors he recorded.
Subsequent research (e.g. Staddon and Simmelhag, 1971), while finding similar behavior, failed to find support for Skinner’s “adventitious reinforcement” explanation for it. By looking at the timing of different behaviors within the interval, Staddon and Simmelhag were able to distinguish two classes of behavior: the terminal response, which occurred in anticipation of food, and interim responses, that occurred earlier in the interfood interval and were rarely contiguous with food. Terminal responses seem to reflect classical (as opposed to operant) conditioning, rather than adventitious reinforcement, guided by a process like that observed in 1968 by Brown and Jenkins in their “autoshaping” procedures.
The causation of interim activities (such as the schedule-induced polydipsia seen in a similar situation with rats) also cannot be traced to adventitious reinforcement and its details are still obscure (Staddon, 1977). This experiment was also repeated on humans, in a less controlled manner, on the popular British TV series Trick or Treat, leading to similar conclusions to Skinner.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY.
Every social phenomenon needs some cognitive and concrete requirements to exist and to come into being. Development is a social phenomenon; reaching the goals of development is among the primary goals of every society and reaching development needs concrete and cognitive requirements. If these requirements are not met and fulfilled, the manifestation development will be impossible. During the 1960s, some thinkers focused much on culture and believed that if we do not change people’s attitudes and beliefs, we can not reach development.
We should modernize the culture. The 244. Univers. J. Edu. Gen. Stud. cognitive and the cultural elements of the society are the infrastructure for any kind of economic growth and development. In order for our country to survive, it must reach the level of other developed and industrial society in the shortest time possible from technical and economical point of view. Such a movement requires highly motivated people with a high level of knowledge and high cultural growth. Those people who just wait for the invisible and heavenly hands, magicians and sorcerers for help and consider the diligent attempts useless could not be good soldiers for the development of a nation.
Regarding the cognitive and cultural factors for the development of the society, it can be said that when a society is entangled in superstitions, it does not have necessary cognitive requirements for the true development (Sepehr, 2005). From a functional point of view, it can be said that superstitious beliefs create negative functions which, in turn, limit the accomplishment of the development. These negative factions are as follows: A-superstitious ideas and beliefs impose are involved in superstitions, the rulers of the society can rule them based on these superstitions and false imagination and pursue their own benefits and the people will be just a useless mass for them.
B- Development of superstitious ideas draws and shows a very bad picture of our society to the world. C- Social problems; by following the track of many social problems, we can see the role of superstitious beliefs in their occurrence. So it can be said that if a human being places his life on nil and nihilism, instead of reality and truth, his self-confidence will decrease , and he will rely in superstitious beliefs, and as a result he will get far and away from research and finally this will be a barrier for development and growth of the society as a whole. This is one of the negative effects of the inclination to superstition on individuals and society. Methodology:
A methodology is usually a guideline system for solving a problem, with specific components such as phases, tasks, methods, techniques and tools (Irny, S.I. and Rose, A.A. 2005). Methodology can properly refer to the theoretical analysis of the methods appropriate to a field of study or to the body of methods and principles particular to a branch of knowledge (The American Heritage, 2009). It is system of principles or methods of procedure in any discipline, such as education, research, diagnosis, or treatment (Elsevier, 2009). Methodology is the analysis of the fundamentals of methods or rules used by a discipline. Methodology has the principles, practices and procedures in a field of study. It is the theoretical analysis of the methods (Gergedan,2008). Research Design:
Research design is the description of the overall structure of the intended research identifying the various element or components of research, the type of each element, and how these elements relate to each other. The purpose of research design is to select and define the overall structure and methods of intended research that will enable us to answer the initial research question effectively and efficiently. There are two types of research designs which are used in sociological research, one is qualitative and other is quantitative. Quantitative Research:
Quantitative research is research that uses numerical analysis. In essence, this approach reduces the data into numbers. Quantitative research refers to the systematic empirical investigation of social phenomena via statistical, mathematical or computational techniques. The process of measurement is central to quantitative research because it provides the fundamental connection between emperical observation and mathematical expression of quantitative relationships. Quantitative data is any data that is in numerical form such as statistics, percentages ( Lisa M, 2008). Universe:
The element of population or area of study under research problem from which a sample is choosen is universe, or any set of indivisuals having some common characteristics, under study made universe. The study was conducted INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY of Islamabad to see the impact of superstitions among students related studies. First hand information have been collected from the students of university. Population:
Any set of people or events from which the sample is selected and to which the study results will generalize is known as population. Population of study is the students on INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY Islamabad. The study was conducted in Islamabad Sample method:
Sampling is the process of selecting units (e.g., people, organizations) from a population of interest. By studying the sample results are generalized back to the population from which they were chosen. The sample is consists of students of iiui. Sample size:
Using convinient sampling data was collected from 100 students of INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY ISLAMABAD. Respondents were reached by researcher herself and it was requested to respondents to give correct and honest information. And respondents were assured that information would remain confidential and utilized only for research purpose. Tool for data collection:
Data was collected through questionnaire.
In this research questionnaire method was used for gathering data. A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. The researcher was approached indivisually to all the respondents, and respondents were also briefed about the nature and purpose of questionnaire. Pretesting:
The questionnaire was pretested for identifying questionnaire problems. These can occur for both respondents and interviewers regarding question content, “skip patterns,” or formatting. Questionnaire was pretested to assess whether the questionnaire was relevant to and easily understood by the respondents, in terms of the concepts and the way they phrased in the questions. Data analysis:
Coding refers to an analytical process in which data, in both quantitative form (such as questionnaires results) or qualitative (such as interview transcript) categorised to facilitate analysis. Coding means the transformation of data into a form understandable by computer software. The classification of information is an important step in preparation of data for computer processing with statistical software. Tabulation:
The systematic and orderly arrangement of facts and figures in columns and rows is called tabulation. The process of placing classified data into tabular form is known as tabulation. A table is a symmetric arrangement of statistical data in rows and columns. Rows are horizontal arrangements whereas columns are vertical arrangements. It may be simple, double or complex depending upon the type of classification. Statistical analysis:
Statistical analysis refers to a collection of methods used to process large amounts of data and report overall trends. Statistical analysis is particularly useful when dealing with larger data. Statistical analysis provides ways to objectively report on how unusual an event is based on historical data. In other word it is statistical analysis.
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