英语四级考前阅读:你是条件迷信者吗?

It starts when people try something different-Pepsi instead of Coca-Cola, a blue tie instead of the old red one-and find that something good happens.
在一旦尝试了新东西――百事可乐替代可口可乐,用蓝领带替代旧的红领带――之后有好事发生,很多人就会变得迷信起来。

Soon, without realizing it, someone who wouldn't think twice about, say, walking under a ladder or traveling on Friday the 13th begins to associate their new behavior with good luck-and starts reaching for the Pepsi again and again.
那些人虽然毫不介意走在梯子下面、不介意在恰逢13号的周五这天出远门,但他们很快也开始不自觉地将好运气和这些新行为相关联,然后就一听接着一听地喝起了百事可乐。

Such 'conditioned superstitions' can develop when people believe there is something they can do to control a situation, despite there being no rational reason to think so, says Gita Johar, a professor of business at Columbia University who recently co-wrote a paper on the phenomenon. Recent research shows that superstitions that increase the illusion of control can help people find meaning and psychological comfort-and in some cases, even boost performance.
哥伦比亚大学(Columbia University)商业教授乔哈尔(Gita Johar)说,如果人们在没有合理依据的情况下相信他们可以通过做某些事来控制某一局面,这种“条件性迷信”(conditioned superstition) 就产生了。乔哈尔近期曾就这一现象与人合写了一篇论文。近期研究显示,这种能强化控制幻觉的迷信能够帮助人们找到事情的意义,获得心理安慰,有时甚至能提升业绩。

People who have both a high need for control and a sense of helplessness in a given situation-such as the straight-A perfectionist who didn't have time to study for an exam-are the most likely to succumb to conditioned superstition, researchers say.
研究人员说,那些特别想要控制局面同时又在特定情境下感到无能为力的人――比如一个要求成绩全A、但又没时间复习考试的完美主义者――最有可能受到“条件性迷信”的影响。


And while such superstitions can be broken, says Dr. Johar, it often takes a lot of negative evidence before people are willing to part with their lucky rituals. That's because they 'provide some sort of a hedge against uncertainty,' says Eric Hamerman, an assistant professor of marketing at Tulane University's Freeman School of Business who, with Dr. Johar, co-wrote the study, published in October in the Journal of Consumer Research.
乔哈尔说,尽管这类迷信可以破除,但人们通常需要看到大量的负面证据,才愿意和那些被认为给他们带来好运的做法分道扬镳。图兰大学(Tulane University)弗里曼商学院(Freeman School of Business)市场营销副教授哈默曼(Eric Hamerman)说,这是因为这些迷信为人们树立起一堵抵御不确定性侵扰的围 。他与乔哈尔合着的研究论文发表在了10月份的《消费者研究》(Journal of Consumer Research)杂志上。

In their experiment, Drs. Johar and Hamerman had 275 participants play the game 'rock, paper, scissors' against a computer-10 series with their right hand and 10 with their left. Unbeknownst to the participants, the computer program manipulated the results to make some people fare better with their left. When given the chance to choose which hand to use for the final matches, more than three-quarters of those playing the rigged game chose the hand that 'caused' them to win more.
在他们的实验中,乔哈尔和哈默曼邀请了275名参与者与一台电脑玩“石头、剪刀、布”的游戏,每人用左、右手各玩10次。而受试者并不知道,电脑程序对游戏结果进行了操控,让某些人用左手玩的时候能更胜一筹。在最后的比赛中,受试者可以选择使用哪只手来参赛,结果超过四分之三的人选择用那只让他们赢得更多轮比赛的手。

If asked, few participants would say they consciously decided to choose the left hand because they thought it would make them lucky. However, their behavior suggests they conditioned themselves to make the connection, say the researchers.
研究人员说,在被问及原因时,很少有受试者会说他们是有意选择了更走运的左手,但他们的行为说明他们条件性地在二者间建立了因果关系。

The phenomenon of conditioned superstition is common enough that entire advertising campaigns have been built around it, says Dr. Hamerman. A recent Bud Light commercial, for example, has a fan forcing down a terrible-tasting veggie burger because his team won the last time he did so.
哈默曼说,“条件性迷信”现象的存在之广,足以让广告活动都围绕它展开。比如百威淡啤最近的一则广告中,一个球迷吃着难以下咽的素食汉堡,只因为上一次他吃这种汉堡的时候他的球队赢了。

Mary Pfister, a 20-year-old sophomore at Saint Louis University, wears her Chicago Blackhawks shirt for each game. The hockey team won big the first time she wore it this season. She once made a 15-minute trip, out of her way, back home to get it for game time. The Blackhawks have lost once while she was wearing her shirt-the only time she didn't watch the game. The connection may be 'all in her head,' she says, but it gives her peace of mind.
路易斯大学(Saint Louis University)的20岁大二学生菲斯特(Mary Pfister)每次看芝加哥黑鹰队的比赛时都会穿上球队的队服。本赛季她第一次穿上那件衣服时,该曲棍球队大比分获胜。有次她还特意花15分钟绕道回家去拿这件衣服以备在比赛时间穿上。在她穿着那件衣服时,黑鹰队输过一次比赛,那也是她唯一一次没有看比赛。她说,也许我是在异想天开,但这么一来我每次都能安心不少。

In their recently published experiment, Drs. Johar and Hamerman found they could reduce people's superstitious behavior by reminding them of their positive traits, a technique psychologists call 'self-affirmation.' In the study, people who were asked to write about times they had shown compassion later exhibited less superstitious behavior than those who had just been given a survey.
在乔哈尔和哈默曼最近发表的一篇研究中,他们发现可以通过提醒人们想起自己的优秀品质,来削弱他们的迷信倾向,这是一种被心理学家称作“自我肯定”的方法。在研究中,一些人先被要求写下能体现出自己富有同情心的经历,在随后的调查中,这些人比直接受调查者的迷信程度要小了许多。

All participants in the study answered obscure trivia questions on both blue and green computer backgrounds and were told, regardless of their actual score, that they performed better when answering questions presented on the green screen. When asked to choose the screen color for the final task, those who had been primed to remember their virtuous acts were less likely to choose the 'lucky' green background.
全部受试者分别在蓝、绿色背景的电脑上回答了一些不起眼的小问题,并被告知(无论真实成绩如何)他们在绿色屏幕的那台电脑上的答题得分更高。当被问到想用什么颜色的屏幕来完成最终任务时,那些先前被提醒过自己所做善举的人们较不太会选择“幸运的”绿色背景。

Reminding people of their good traits makes them more emotionally secure, says Claude Steele, an early researcher into the psychology of self-affirmation and now a dean in Stanford University's graduate school of education. 'If I feel secure that I am a good person, I can be more open to threat in general, and that makes me less needful of being superstitious,' he adds. It isn't that people no longer think their team will lose, or that they'll fail a test, he says. Instead, self-affirmation makes them more psychologically resilient, and helps them realize they can cope even if something bad happens.
斯坦福大学教育研究生院院长斯蒂尔(Claude Steele)对自我肯定进行过早期心理学研究,他说提醒人们牢记自己的优秀品质能够让他们心里更有安全感。如果我确信自己是一个优秀的人,总体而言我可以更加勇敢地面对威胁,进而就更无须靠迷信来帮忙。他补充道,并不是说人们这样就坚信球队获胜或者考试通过。而是说自我肯定能够增强他们的心理抵抗力,帮助他们意识到即便有什么不好的事情发生,自己也能应付得了。

Still, for people under pressure to compete or perform, superstitious behavior can create a placebo effect that can improve the outcome. Since the age of 15, Maria Fabregat Farran, a 20-year-old student at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, has always worn a red bracelet while taking exams. 'My mom gave it to me and said it was lucky, and wearing it makes me more relaxed,' she says. 'I think it helps me on tests.'
尽管如此,如果人们肩负着竞争或尽力表现的压力,迷信行为可以催生出一种安慰剂效应(placebo effect),让他们的表现更加出色。巴塞罗那自治大学(Autonomous University of Barcelona)的20岁学生法兰(Maria Fabregat Farran)从15岁开始,每次考试都会带上一个红色的手镯。她说:我妈妈给我这个手镯,告诉我它有福气,戴着它我更放松。我觉得它能帮助我应对考试。

In a 2010 experiment published in Psychological Science, golfers sank 35% more putts when playing with a ball they were told was 'lucky.' Sports teams from Little League to the pros are rife with players who practice a ritual or carry a charm they believe will boost their performance. Michael Jordan, for one, was famous for wearing his lucky college basketball shorts under his NBA ones.
据《心理科学》(Psychological Science)杂志2010年发表的一篇研究报告称,当高尔夫球手在被告知所用之球能带来好运时,他们的击球入洞率上升了35%。无论是职业球手还是美国少年棒球联合会(Little League)的小队员,都流行在比赛前举行祈福仪式或佩带一块护身符,因为相信这会让他们有更好的表现。篮球巨星乔丹(Michael Jordan)也有一个众所周知的习惯,那就是每次比赛都将他的幸运大学篮球短裤穿在NBA队服的里面。

While conditioned superstitions affect personal behavior, cultural ones can impact the market at large. Some 10,000 fewer people fly on Friday the 13th, and U.S. businesses generate less revenue on those days compared with other Fridays, since some people don't want to travel, work or make purchases, says Thomas Kramer, an associate professor of marketing at the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business.
“条件性迷信”会影响个人行为,而文化迷信则会更广泛地影响着市场。南卡罗莱纳大学(University of South Carolina)摩尔商学院(Moore School of Business)市场营销副教授克雷默(Thomas Kramer)说,如果13号恰逢星期五,这天的航空出行乘客会减少约10,000人,这一天美国企业的创收也较其它周五要少,因为一些人在这一天不会出远门、工作或者购物。

In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2008, Dr. Kramer asked 95 students to write down their associations with either Friday the 13th or an innocuous day before answering questions about gambling decisions. His finding: After thinking about Friday the 13th, compared with a random day, participants became more risk-averse. 'They were willing to forgo a gamble with a larger payoff in favor of a lower gamble with assured value,' he says.
在2008年《消费者研究》上发表的一篇研究中,克雷默让95名学生参与一场赌博游戏,并在回答问题之前,让一部份人用纸笔把自己与恰逢星期五的13号联想起来,另一部份人则随便写下一个不晦气的日子。他发现:思索过13号周五的受试者比其他受试者的避险倾向更强。他说,相比一个高风险高回报的大赌,他们更倾向于有确定收益的小赌。

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