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The psychology of superstition

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Dr. Raphi Ward breaks down some of the psychology behind superstitions. (WPEC)

Friday the 13th brings to mind all manner of unlucky things.

Broken mirrors, black cats and ladders.

Licensed psychologist Dr. Raphi Wald says the psychology behind superstition doesn't necessarily fall under any specific religious aspect of a person's background.

Superstitions could mostly be linked to culture and a person's upbringing, Wald says.

According to Wald, being superstitious and having habits linked to it, such as wearing your lucky shirt, are not an issue. The problem would be when superstitious beliefs cause anxiety to the point where your day-to-day life is affected.

"As an athlete, for example, you will not go out onto the soccer field unless your shoelaces are tied a certain way," Wald says. "If you forget to tie your shoes that certain way and you have to go back to the locker room and tie your shoes the right way and you miss the beginning of the game or some of your warm-up because you didn't tie your shoes the right way, at that point, it's gone from a superstition to an anxiety or a compulsion."



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