Effects of Supraliminal Superstitious Cues on Attitudes
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Despite detrimental effects on both individual and societal development, studies show socially-shared superstitious thoughts and behaviors continue to be reinforced by supraliminal and subliminal environmental cues. The present study evaluated the influence of supraliminal primes—either for or against superstitious thinking—on individual attitude and behavior. One hundred forty-eight participants were recruited from Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) crowdsourcing population for this study. Online, the participants read passages with pro-superstitious, anti-superstitious or neutral primes, and answered passage-related questions that discreetly probed for superstitious inclinations. For each condition, degree of superstitiousness was measured by frequency of superstitious answer choice versus neutral answer choice on passage-related questions. A hypothesis that pro-superstitious primes can influence inclination towards superstitious attitudes and behaviors was evaluated with two-way contingency table analyses. Consistent with the hypothesis, results reveal that the pro-superstitious priming condition had the highest frequency of superstitious answer choices for certain scenarios, when compared to the anti-superstitious or neutral priming conditions.