The extraordinary belief I am interested in involves superstition called “Bad Luck”, especially the number 13 and conspiracy behind it. It is considered one of the more common superstitious beliefs that are found around the world and known as a synonym for “Bad Luck”. Research shows that 1 out of four people consider themselves superstitious. The interesting aspect about “Bad luck” is that it is so universal and anywhere you go you discover a new/different sign of bad luck. It is common to see people avoid the number 13 in and around elevators, hotels, airlines, etc.
There is a lot of controversy around the statistical proof to support this superstition. While some researchers state that, “No data exists, and will never exist, to confirm that the number 13 is an unlucky number”, there should not be a reason to think that any number is more unlucky than another. However, others published findings that indicates otherwise. As an example, they analyzed traffic flow and car accidents on a motorway during 5 months that the 13th fell on a friday during a 2 year long period. Comparing these data to data collected on other dates it showed that transport accidents “increased by as much as 52% percent”.
A cognitive contribution to this belief could be religious, which I will expand on later, but also the term called triskaidekaphobia, which is an irrational fear of the number 13. Another reason the belief exist can be due to confirmation bias and self fulfilling prophecies. Confirmation bias is the tendency to ignore evidence that would disconfirm your belief and only focus on evidence that would ‘confirm’ their existing beliefs. Self fulfilling prophecy can be another factor while superstitious belief exists. It is a belief that tend to become true, because we already belief in it, which shapes our way of acting towards it and reinforces the belief to become true.
This extraordinary belief about the unlucky number 13 can be traced back to biblical times. Over time, there have been various reasons why people consider it an unlucky number, tracing back to Christianity. “Some believe this is unlucky because one of those thirteen, Judas Iscariot, was the betrayer of Jesus Christ. From the 1890s, a number of English language sources relate the “unlucky” thirteen to an idea that at the Last Supper, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table.” It is likely that many Christians hold this extraordinary belief.
After reviewing the entire concepts and history of the extraordinary belief of number #13, it mostly seems that Heuristics such as Confirmation Bias and self-fulfilling prophecies play a role. It seems that many groups of people take an example from history where the number 13 may have been unlucky and use it to justify the belief as a whole.