Many people feel strongly that superstitious rituals do work. These people usually have
some ritual or tradition that they believe helps them achieve or win something. For example:
when someone uses the same color pen every time to take a test, because they have taken a test
before and passed with that color pen. These rituals continue because sometimes, by coincidence,
the outcome is good or the same. B.F. Skinner (1948) demonstrated this by using eight pigeons
in his laboratory. He found that partial reinforcement got the best response because it persisted
after it had been learned. This is an intermittent schedule of reinforcement. He also found that
continuous reinforcement just taught the subject to use same response to receive reinforcement
Skinner also annoyed and infuriated people because he believed that free will is an
illusion and that we are shaped by our environments and genetic heritage.
I feel that
superstitious rituals are illusions, because people tend to have certain beliefs and superstitions or
see things a certain way because of their environment and family or genetics. We believe so
strongly about our own beliefs that we do not feel that they are superstitions or illusions.
Superstitions and illusions are beliefs that can not be proven. Many things in our life such as our
religious beliefs can not be proven as a fact, but we still believe in them.