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LUCK IN ACTION? BELIEF IN GOOD LUCK, PSI-MEDIATED INSTRUMENTAL RESPONSE, AND GAMES OF CHANCE.

ABSTRACT: Stanford's Psi-Mediated Instrumental Response (PMIR) model postulates that organisms may use psi nonintentionally in service of their needs. Is PMIR a form of "luck in action"? Sixty individuals took part in a study designed to explore connections between belief in good luck (BIGL), performance on a laboratory PMIR (nonintentional psi) task, and expectations of success and actual performance at two games of chance (playing the UK National Lottery and a simple die-throwing task). The PMIR task involved participants rating a series of characters (rated as neutral in a pilot study) for aesthetic attractiveness. If the participant's highest rating matched a randomly selected key character, the participant was directed to a pleasant task. Otherwise, the participant was directed to an unpleasant task. The dependent variable was a standardized rating score, based on a comparison between the key character rating to the overall character ratings. There were four formal hypotheses and three exploratory questi ons. The method of analysis was preplanned for the formal hypotheses and not for the exploratory questions. No overall evidence was found of nonintentional psi, thus failing to support Hypothesis 1, t (59) = -.597. A marginally significant positive correlation was found, as predicted, between PMIR and luckiness as measured by the BIGL scale, supporting Hypothesis 2, [r.sub.s] = .210, p = .05, one-tailed. There were two measures of expected success on the lottery task: confidence of winning, and expected winnings. As predicted, belief in good luck correlated significantly positively with expected lottery success, thus supporting Hypothesis 3: [r.sub.s] = .438, p [less than] .01, one-tailed, for confidence of winning; [r.sub.s] = .477, p [less than] .01, one-tailed, for expected winnings. There were two measures of expected success on the die-throwing task: confidence of throwing a "6," and estimated chances of throwing a "6." As predicted, belief in good luck correlated significantly positively with expected d ie-throwing success, thus supporting Hypothesis 4: [r.sub.s] = .378, p [less than] .01, one-tailed, for confidence of success; [r.sub.s] = .222, p[less than] .05, one-tailed, for chances of success. In sum, lucky participants had higher confidence of success at the games of chance than those who did not consider themselves lucky. In answer to Exploratory Question 1, there was no difference between lucky and not-lucky groups in terms of actual lottery playing behavior, z = 1.570, p = .116, two-tailed. In answer to Exploratory Question 2, according to their general beliefs about good luck, lucky participants did no better at the lottery than not-lucky participants, z = .695, p = .487, two-tailed. However, those participants who specifically believed their luck could affect their lottery success did have significantly greater lottery success than those who did not believe their luck could affect their lottery success, z = 2.472, p = .013, two-tailed. Finally, for Exploratory Question 3, there appeared to be no i ndication that lucky participants performed better at the die-throwing task than not-lucky participants. The paper concludes with some interpretation of these results and some suggestions for future research.
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Author:WATT, CAROLINE; NAGTEGAAL, MARLEEN
Publication:The Journal of Parapsychology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 1999
Words:499
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