Sociology Final Project

By: Nichole Moody


Question: How do superstitions impact people?

Superstitions impact people in different way, it really just depends on how seriously the person takes there superstitions. Some people just don't believe in superstitions because they think it has no rational justification. Some people follow superstitions just for the fun of it, or simply because it's what everybody else is doing, and they don't really believe in it. Then there's the people who deeply believe in there superstitions, and tend to take them too seriously. They become almost totally dominated by traditional superstitions in daily affair of life.

Background Research

Background Research: What are some superstitions that people have?

I have numerous friends that when in the car they have to touch a window on the car when going over a railroad track, because they believe that if they don't they will get hit by a car. Also when I was younger my parents always made us believe that we had to put our hands on the roof of the car when going under a railroad track with a train on it to keep the track from falling on us.

There are also countries who superstitions that they must follow within there everyday lives, and these are superstitions that everybody follows.

  • In Brazil it is bad luck to drop your wallet, because it means you'll lose money.
  • In China the word four is unlucky, because the pronunciation is too close to the word death.
  • In South Korea running in a fan in closed room while your sleeping can kill you.
  • In Lithuania whistling indoor will call demons to come and kill you
  • In the Phillipines sun-showers are believed to signify the wedding between two demon horses.
  • In the United States houses in the 19th were built with slanted windows because it was believed that witches couldn't fly through slanted windows on there brooms.

Theses are just a select few of the superstitions that people believe in the around the world. There are many more, you could probably go ahead and look them up if you want to, some of them are really interesting.

Background Research: Why do people believe in superstitions?

It is believed that some people believe in superstitions because it's a way of making them feel in control of something. Some people have to find themselves in situations where they are lacking control, and as a result some of them start to believe in superstitious ideas in order to feel in control. Because the desire to stay in control is so strong many find superstitious beliefs very appealing. They believe that as long as they stay away from black cats, and avoid walking under ladders they won't get bad luck.

Some people believe it's because the people who believe in superstitions are insecure. Courage is a rare personality trait, the courage to believe that you are responsible for whatever happens in your life. Most people choose to believe in superstitions because it gives them a way to blame the bad things in life on something else, other than there faults in life. They can say it was just bad luck, and move on, instead of actually taking the blame for it themselves.

Background Research: OCD vs. Superstition

OCD and Superstition have similar thought processes, and sometimes can be tied into each other when it comes down to the people who take superstitions too far. The people who take superstitions to a daily affair, and can't live without following there superstitions.

OCD is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something.

A superstition is considered a belief or a practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.

I believe there is a thin line that can be drawn between OCD and Superstition and it's very easy to cross when superstitions are taken too far by some people. Especially when they can't live without following there superstitions, and they don't know what do with themselves if they don't follow there superstitions. It's just up to you determine when you've crossed that line, and when you haven't.


My Hypothesis

I believe people are superstitious because it gives people something to believe in when they don't have something to believe in.

Test Your Hypothesis

My Expirement

I asked a few people around school if they had any superstitions, a four people said that they had to touch a car window when they drove over a railroad track. I had about ten people who said that they just followed the normal superstitions like black cats, and ladders, and quite a few people said that they didn't really have any superstitions, but I felt it's because they didn't really know how to answer the question. I probably could have explained my question better.

I asked people the people who did answer what they would did if they didn't follow there superstitions, and they said that it didn't really matter. Just that they didn't because there family did it, and they'd grown up doing it. Along with all there friends did it as well so they were surrounded with people doing it. Some people said that they grew up hearing it, and so it kind of just stuck. So that's what they listened too.

Draw A Conclusion


It seemed like the people who did answer only ended up following there superstitions because that's what they're friends and families did. They spent a lot of time with there friends and family and so every time they were with them they just played along.

Plus the people who were taught to follow superstitions from a young age, that's what they grew up being told. So it kind of just stuck inside there head. So I guess that's what they're going to believe, cause that's what they grew up believing.


What I Believe

From my results, I believe that a lot of people just had there superstitions because that's either what they grew up being told, or that's what they see there friends doing all the time. So people are turning to there friends and families for something, which is where they're getting most of there superstitions from. Which would fit some of the things that we've had to read about within Sociology this semester about Society Norms, and wanting to fit into. Maybe these aren't the normal Society Norms, but they must be some type of Society Norm with the people seem to be getting superstitions from each other, or copying friends or family members superstitions.