Better Safe Than Sorry: Why We Believe In Tempting Fate

Better Safe Than Sorry: Why We Believe In Tempting Fate

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There are certain laws of nature everyone accepts. The surest way to bring about rain on an overcast day is to leave your umbrella at home. Is your line at the grocery store moving too slowly? Switch lines. That will definitely speed it up (minus you). And if you’ve hit a series of green traffic lights that just might get you to the post office before it closes, comment on your string of success. Ah, there’s the red.

Do people really believe such actions can change their fortunes? In recent years Jane Risen of the University of Chicago and Thomas Gilovich of Cornell have shed more light than anyone on the phenomenon of tempting fate.

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