Superstitious rituals that involve pushing movements away from our body make us feel better because we associate pushing actions and avoiding harm or danger, according to psychologists at the University of Chicago. According to Jane L. Risen, PhD, associate professor of behavioural science, and A. David Nussbaum, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of behavioural science, both from the University of Chicago Booth School of business stated in the New York Times:
People’s beliefs are often influenced by bodily feelings and movements. For example, other research shows that people tend to agree with the same arguments more when they hear them while they are nodding their head up and down (as if they were saying ‘yes’) rather than shaking it from side to side (as if they were saying ‘no’).
Risen went on to say that “avoidant actions that exert force away from one’s representation of self are especially effective for reducing the anticipated negative consequences following a jinx.”
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