Do you have a lucky pair of socks that you believe gives you the edge?

Ashley Boaz, a senior psychology major, and her team worked with Professor Steve Croker this semester to explore magical thinking and the idea that a person can control outcomes through an object. They presented their findings Friday, April 10, at the University Research Symposium.

Boaz asked research participants questions about their perception on their chance of winning and control. Participants then watched Boaz’s colleagues, Daisy Bueno, a graduate student, and Bria Hesse, a freshman psychology major, use a set of colored dice in a computerized game sequence that was more likely to win.

Half the participants were then given a set of dice and half were given the chance to choose which color they wanted. After participants played a version of the game that had no extra chance of winning, they were asked again about their perception on their chance of winning and control.

“For instance, an athlete might wear a pair of socks that they think are really lucky, and then if they don’t have those on a game day they might not do as well as they think they should, because they’ve got that idea in their head,” Boaz said.

Boaz, Bueno, and Hesse presented their project at the University Research Symposium that is held in the Bone Student Center every spring for graduate and undergraduate students to showcase their research projects. This year over 484 students displayed more than 320 research projects.

To read more about research, creative expression, and scholarship at Illinois State University, follow @ISUResearch on Twitter and look for the inaugural issue of the Redbird Scholar. The University’s new biannual magazine focused on faculty and student research will be published in print and online for the first time in September.

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