By Stephen Beech via SWNS
Men take more financial risks than women after being given a positive reading by a fortune teller, according to new research from Holland.
Three experiments showed the impact of superstition - even for men who claim to be non-believers – was far more pronounced than in women.
Men who were presented with a positive, compared to a neutral or negative, fortune telling were subsequently more inclined to take financial risks, according to the findings published in the journal PLOS One.
Study leader Doctor Xiaoyue Tan, of Erasmus University in Holland, said: "Superstitious beliefs and behaviors are prevalent around the world.
"A limited but growing body of research is improving scientific understanding of superstition."
"For instance, evidence suggests that superstition can help combat feelings of uncertainty and that superstitious rituals can boost people’s performance on tasks by enhancing their confidence.
"Fortune telling is a popular form of superstition, but few studies have investigated how it affects people’s behaviors."
To better understand the relationship between fortune telling and subsequent behavior, the research team conducted two online experiments involving a total of 693 participants.
They were presented with either positive, negative, or neutral fortunes regarding their lives and future financial success.
The participants later completed a questionnaire evaluating their tendency to take financial risks.
Dr. Tan said: "These experiments showed that participants with positive fortunes were more inclined to take financial risks - particularly male participants."
A further experiment involving 193 new participants in a lab setting showed that receiving a positive fortune was linked to a greater tendency to gamble with real money in an online gambling game. However, there was no significant difference between men and women.
The researchers finally conducted a statistical analysis of all three experiments, revealing a "significant" overall link among men between financial risk-taking and a positive compared to a neutral fortune. However, the link was almost absent in women.
Dr. Tan said: “Positive fortune telling can yield increased financial risk-taking in men, but not - or less so - in women.
"Most participants in all three experiments reported themselves to be non-believers, even though the results suggest that positive fortune telling outcomes influenced their behaviors.
"This is in line with prior research indicating that people act on superstition even if they claim not to be superstitious."
Dr. Tan added: "Future research could explore the nuances of these findings, such as factors underlying the more pronounced effects for men."
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