Event Title

How Superstitions Affect Critical Thinking in College Students

Location

CSU Ballroom

Start Date

9-4-2012 1:00 PM

End Date

9-4-2012 2:30 PM

Student's Major

Psychology

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Emily Stark

Mentor's Department

Psychology

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

It would be difficult to find an individual who doesn’t value critical thinking; colleges across the country aim to teach students how to use it in everyday life. One of the merits of critical thinking is that it can measure the validity of claims made by various groups.

Researchers (McLean & Miller, 2010) have examined how critical thinking abilities relate to beliefs about the paranormal, but we need to know more about how superstitions and paranormal beliefs influence how students think. Critical thinking may be high in some areas while never being applied to others. For instance, do people who have superstitious beliefs avoid analyzing them because they are “off limits” or do they simply lack critical thinking ability? Superstitious beliefs may also relate to GPA, study habits, and beliefs about intelligence. In the current study, forty-five participants completed a survey with questions about their attitudes toward school and studying, GPA, and levels of superstition. All participants also completed two critical thinking tests, one focused on psychology, and one assessing general critical thinking abilities. Critical thinking abilities negatively related to levels of superstition (ps < .05), meaning that highly superstitious participants scored lower on the critical thinking tests. This poster will present complete results of how superstition and critical thinking abilities relate to other attitudes and beliefs about school and learning. This study is important because it reveals the strength of superstitions, how they relate to age and participants’ beliefs, and whether they interfere with academic learning.

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Apr 9th, 1:00 PM Apr 9th, 2:30 PM

How Superstitions Affect Critical Thinking in College Students

CSU Ballroom

It would be difficult to find an individual who doesn’t value critical thinking; colleges across the country aim to teach students how to use it in everyday life. One of the merits of critical thinking is that it can measure the validity of claims made by various groups.

Researchers (McLean & Miller, 2010) have examined how critical thinking abilities relate to beliefs about the paranormal, but we need to know more about how superstitions and paranormal beliefs influence how students think. Critical thinking may be high in some areas while never being applied to others. For instance, do people who have superstitious beliefs avoid analyzing them because they are “off limits” or do they simply lack critical thinking ability? Superstitious beliefs may also relate to GPA, study habits, and beliefs about intelligence. In the current study, forty-five participants completed a survey with questions about their attitudes toward school and studying, GPA, and levels of superstition. All participants also completed two critical thinking tests, one focused on psychology, and one assessing general critical thinking abilities. Critical thinking abilities negatively related to levels of superstition (ps < .05), meaning that highly superstitious participants scored lower on the critical thinking tests. This poster will present complete results of how superstition and critical thinking abilities relate to other attitudes and beliefs about school and learning. This study is important because it reveals the strength of superstitions, how they relate to age and participants’ beliefs, and whether they interfere with academic learning.

Recommended Citation

Spencer, Daniel. "How Superstitions Affect Critical Thinking in College Students." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 9, 2012.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2012/poster-session-B/39