18 November 2020
Psychologist Ildar Abitov on superstitions in different circumstances

His interview on 17 November was a part of a week-long PRO Science event.


On comparison between superstitions and belief in the integrity of parliamentary elections

It turned out that more people believe in the paranormal than the actual honesty of elections in the State Duma. That was in 2013-2015. A similar poll in 2019 showed that superstitiousness declined.


On the definition of superstitiousness

Our definition is as follows: superstitiousness is a specific attitude towards reality, postulating the existence of supernatural forces, emotional processes and readiness to undertake actions that could negate undesirable outcomes or reinforce positive outcomes of events.


On correlation between stress and superstitions

People who are under stress are more prone to superstitions. Neurotic patients tend to believe in witchcraft, for example.


On general acceptance of superstitions

All people tend to memorize and use superstitious rituals and beliefs. Social aptitude influences the inclination of individuals towards superstitiousness. Superstitiousness stems from the need to explain everything that happens in life. It helps people regulate negative psychological states and compensate a lack of information.


On how students’ attitudes changed during the pandemic

The results that we had from questionnaires provided during the pandemic and before the pandemic were completely the opposite of what we expected. Based on stress-centered approaches, the results should have been vastly different, i. e. the students should have become more superstitious. Our hypothesis is that our students do not perceive this situation as stress-inducing, they are comfortable and they do not think that this threat is serious.


Source text: Rufina Gimaletdinova

Translation: Yury Nurmeev

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