Research Proposal- Does the use of superstition in sports increase with an increase in competition?

Essay by EileenmaloneUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, October 2006

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Superstition is often defined as an irrational of unfounded belief in general and the term is used by many to merely show that they wish to characterise given beliefs or opinion as false, misinformation or ignorance. (Bernardin, 2004) Many definitions have been put forward as to what superstition means, however it is not easy to define or distinguish superstition from other types of belief and action. The only thing that is evident about superstition is that it is powerful in that it can influence people how to act or not to act in everyday life.

I propose to examine superstition in sport, as I became increasingly interested in the psychology of superstition recently whilst writing an essay on the persistence of superstition in the world today. When researching I found superstition was evident in the professions, especially those which produce a high level of anxiety, like competitive sports.

I have chosen the research question 'Does the use of superstition in sports increase with an increase in competition?' because of the increased interest of competitive sports and sporting success in the public domain.

With many people today opting for some kind of sport as a hobby or following or supporting a team means that sport is a popular choice of interest, whether it be as an occupation, a means of spending leisure time, watching or taking part in it, making it a relevant topic to research in today's society. The pressure that athletes have to deal with from their fans in order to win certain titles or trophies for example, is great, so surely these pressures need to be dealt with by some means. Many people in society today may find it interesting to see how athletes cope in situations like this and to see whether it is these rituals or...