In three studies, we found that reading information in a foreign language can suppress common superstitious beliefs. Participants read scenarios in either their native or a foreign language. In each scenario, participants were asked to imagine performing an action (e.g., submitting a job application) under a superstitious circumstance (e.g., broken mirror, four-leaf clover) and to rate how they would feel. Overall, foreign language prompted less negative feelings towards bad-luck scenarios and less positive feelings towards good-luck scenarios, while it exerted no influence on non-superstitious, control scenarios. We attribute these findings to language-dependent memory. Superstitious beliefs are typically acquired and used in contexts involving the native language. As a result, the native language evokes them more forcefully than a foreign language.
|Journal||Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006)|
|Early online date||24 Aug 2017|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2019|
Hadjichristidis, C., Geipel, J., & Surian, L. (2019). Breaking Magic: Foreign Language Suppresses Superstition. Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006), 72(1), 18-28. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2017.1371780