Study: People act as if luck is contagious

Jan. 27, 2009 at 7:51 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- People consider luck contagious -- they like to get close to a winner -- because they think it enhances their chances of winning, U.S. researchers said.

Study author Arul Mishra of the University of Utah asked study participants to choose a Pepsi bottle from one of two groups. In one group the bottles were close together and in the other they had been arranged apart.

Consumers were told that one of the bottles in each group contained a gift coupon, the majority of subjects chose a bottle from the close-together group.

But, participants were told that one of the bottles in each group was defective, they were more likely to choose from the group with the bottles arranged apart.

The finding showed that "the age-old belief that qualities are contagious and transferable is quite pervasive in simple everyday decisions," Mishra said in a statement.

Despite the fact that the qualities -- a gift coupon or a product defect -- cannot physically spread from one object to the other, people still believe in the contagiousness of qualities based on their grouping, Mishra said in a statement.

The study is scheduled to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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