A functional motivation framework for examining superstitious behavior

Rajiv Vaidyanathan, Praveen Aggarwal, Marat Bakpayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Are all superstitious behaviors driven by the belief in the behavior’s instrumentality? Why do superstitious behaviors persist even in the face of counterevidence? Drawing on the functionalist tradition, we present a framework of superstitious behavior that builds on the underlying motivations behind such behavior. We categorize superstitious behaviors as motivated by the instrumental function (operating principle: Illusion of control), protective function (operating principles: Hope and counterfactual thinking), and social-adjustive function (operating principles: Social learning and belongingness). The proposed framework integrates disparate findings in the literature. We discuss the implications of the framework and its potential for shaping future research on the topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-465
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

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© 2018 the Association for Consumer Research. All rights reserved.


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