- Psychology & the public
- What we do
- Member networks
- Careers, education & training
Religion or superstition
Superstition is irrational, so is religion. It can be considered irrational to believe that God created the universe in light of the existing scientific facts….. some people go to church even though they don’t believe in God, as some athletes engage in superstitious rituals but don't believe in them.
It is not surprising that what one person considers a superstition is another person’s religion.
Superstitious beliefs have been differentiated from religious beliefs on the basis of the latter being institutionalised while the former are individual. But both necessitate presumptuous, aggressive, personal confidence in the exclusive truth of one’s own faith.
Superstitions and religion are primarily transited from one generation to the other mainly through socialisation process. The other sources of superstition and religion can be explained through psychological process.
Patrick Ofori observed that superstitious and religious rituals have effects on the internal states of individual players at the last FIFA World Cup.
This can be explained with the uncertainty hypothesis, which suggests that superstitious and religious rituals increase performers’ sense of control. This, in turn, reduces anxiety and allows them to cope with unpredictable conditions and successfully perform the high-risk tasks they face.
This sense of control may provide enduring psychological antidote yo uncertainty, injuries, deselection, and career stressors.
Although religious and superstitious rituals may help an athlete or teams, there have been instances where a clash between the individual athlete personal rituals and those of the team beliefs has resulted in cognitive dissonance, conflicts and heightened anxiety. This, of course, defeats the purpose of the rituals, both for the individuals concerned and for team dynamics.