Superstition can lead to impulsivity

A link between acting impulsively and such flawed reasoning as luck and superstition has been established by researchers. Investigators from the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London studied compulsive gamblers and learnt that those with greater impulsivity levels are more susceptible to errors in reasoning.

Published in the journal Psychological Medicine, the study was held at the National Problem Gambling Clinic - which treats over-16s in England and Wales who are deemed problem gamblers - and funded by the Medical Research Council.

Speaking of the association between being impulsive and more complex distortions such as acting superstitiously, Dr Luke Clark from the University of Cambridge's Department of Experimental Psychiatry, a member of the British Psychological Society, said: "Our research helps fuse these two likely underlying causes of problem gambling, shedding light on why some people are prone to becoming pathological gamblers."

The research found gambling addicts were more likely to opt for immediate rewards of less value and to act on impulse when in either a very high or very low mood.