'Illusions driving market havoc'
The mind naturally creates illusions and superstitions at times of stress - and this could be adding to the global financial crisis, say scientists.
Loss of control may leave us looking for four-leaf clovers
In a series of six experiments, Whitson and Galinsky attempted to directly correlate lack of control with illusory perceptions. In the first two, they were able to establish that participants will seek patterns to compensate for unmanageable conditions. To simulate lack-of-control circumstances, they gave volunteers random feedback that was unrelated to their responses. Participants lacking control saw more nonexistent images in pictures and scored higher on the Personal Need for Structure Scale than those who were not treated to random feedback.
Superstitions and good luck rituals may also result from the human need for control. Whitson and Galinsky presented participants three scenarios that each contained two unconnected events, like "knocking on wood before an important meeting and getting one's idea approved." Participants who were asked to remember uncontrolled situations from the past saw more connection between the unrelated events and thought that good luck actions were important in the future.