Causes and Consequences For the Belief in Tempting Fate

Jane Risen, University of Chicago, USA
Thomas Gilovich, Cornell University, USA
The present research explores the belief that it is bad luck to “tempt fate.” First, we demonstrate that people have the intuition that tempting fate will increase the likelihood of a negative outcome. Second, we argue that the belief is due, in large part, to the combination of the automatic tendencies to attend to negative prospects and to use accessibility as a cue when judging likelihood. Finally, we demonstrate that when the belief is made salient, people avoid the types of behaviors that are thought to tempt fate.
[ to cite ]:
Jane Risen and Thomas Gilovich (2009) ,"Causes and Consequences For the Belief in Tempting Fate", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 31-35.