It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Jennifer Whitson of the University of Texas in Austin and Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, asked people what patterns they could see in arrangements of dots or stock market information. Before asking, Whitson and Galinsky made half their participants feel a lack of control, either by giving them feedback unrelated to their performance or by having them recall experiences where they had lost control of a situation.
The results were striking. The subjects who sensed a loss of control were much more likely to see patterns where there were none. "We were surprised that the phenomenon is as widespread as it is," Whitson says. What's going on, she suggests, is that when we feel a lack of control we fall back on superstitious ways of thinking. That would explain why religions enjoy a revival during hard times.
SCIENCE has allowed us to smooth over many of the natural ups and downs of human existence. We have predictable harvests, food on supermarket shelves, savings and pensions that will help us get through difficult times, and economies that provide most people with what they need to survive. Alongside these developments a rational, scientific world view has become the dominant mode of thought.
Take the comforts away, however, and the rationality often evaporates too. When human beings lose control over their lives, they become more prone to superstition, spiritual searchings and conspiracy theories.