Culture and Cognition: the Case of Irrational Beliefs About Luck

 Culture and cognition:  The case of irrational beliefs about luck


Session chair:              Rashmi Adaval, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

Discussion leader:       Robert S. Wyer, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


1. The effects of luck and self esteem: Cultural differences in risky decision making

Ana Valenzuela, Baruch College

Peter Darke, University of British Columbia

Donnel A. Briley, University of Sydney


Previous literature has found that lucky experiences have a paradoxical effect on expectations of future performance.  These results are quite similar to findings in the self-esteem literature concerning ego-threat.  The present study investigates whether cultures with different control orientations (American vs. Chinese) differ in their sensitivity to luck and self-esteem using a risky decision task.  Three different studies show that cultures with an internal locus of control engage in more risky decision-making when self-esteem is enhanced.  On the other hand, cultures with an external locus of control make more risky choices when they believe that they are personally lucky.


2. Priming lucky numbers: Effects on attributions and performance

Yuwei Jiang, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

Angela Cho, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

Rashmi Adaval, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology 


Three studies demonstrate how numbers symbolize luck in Asian cultures and can prime attributions that people make as well as behavior. One study shows how participants who are primed with lucky or unlucky numbers attribute success or failure to internal (personal) or external (outside) factors. Two other studies show the impact of such priming on performance. Priming with lucky or unlucky numbers influences performance on an anagram task. Further, the use of lucky and unlucky numbers in product pricing influences the amount of money that people are willing to pay and reduces the anchoring effects that price anchors typically have. 

3. Retrospective evaluations: Will chance versus luck oriented individuals select different moments of an experience?

Elizabeth Cowley, University of Sydney

Colin Farrell, University of Sydney


Previous research has shown that retrospective evaluations of purely painful or purely pleasant experiences are based on a few select moments of an experience. Specifically, the most intensely painful or pleasurable moments and the last moments of the experience are heavily weighted in memory. We investigate how and when the peak win, the peak loss, and the last moments of a gambling experience are used to estimate remembered utility (or liking) and remembered disutility (or disliking) in a mixed experience. The results show that the moments selected for the retrospective evaluation depend on whether the person is luck-oriented or chance-oriented.


Session Chair: Rashmi Adaval and Discussion Leader: Robert Wyer (2006) ,"Culture and Cognition: the Case of Irrational Beliefs About Luck", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 623-627.


Session Chair: Rashmi Adaval, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Department of Marketing, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, Phone: (852) 2358 7714, email:
Discussion Leader: Robert Wyer, Hong Kong University of Science a


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33 | 2006

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