Murray State Theses and Dissertations


Superstitious behavior has been found to emerge during situations of uncertainty and often used by those who desire control. Desperation, a negative emotion that motivates behavior, tends to also occur in uncontrollable environments. This study attempts to analyze the possible relationship between desperation and the use of superstitious behavior in circumstances that leave individuals with little to no control. This was achieved by simulating an uncertain environment through a computerized card game involving chance (i.e. War). Results from this study demonstrated that those who felt desperate due to uncertainty engaged in superstitious behaviors, and desperation was a greater predictor for use of superstitions than even a desire for control.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

superstition, desperation, superstitious beliefs, superstitious behaviors, control

Thesis Advisor

Jana Hackathorn

Committee Chair

Dan Wann

Committee Member

Alexandra Hendley

Committee Member

Patrick Cushen

Committee Member

Tracey McCue

Document Type