Last night, those Red Sox beards came through once again, with the Sox taking a 3-2 lead over St. Louis in the World Series. There’s no telling what role the beards that first showed up during spring training have played in getting the hirsute Sox to the World Series, but Fenway park isn’t the only place where people turn to superstition to swing the odds in their favor. And as it turns out, superstition might play a role in success.
Author and research psychologist Stuart Vyse studies the ways people across cultures try to ward off loss and control outcomes in the stock market, on the craps table, and athletic competition. He’s author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition. We thought his recent article for The Atlantic, called 'How Superstition Works,' would be just right for a week when Halloween and the World Series converge.