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Title: Perceptions of one's own luck : the formation, maintenance and consequences of percieved luckiness.
Author: Smith, Matthew David.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3452 0897
Awarding Body: University of Herfordshire
Current Institution: University of Hertfordshire
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis reports a body of work that examines psychological, and parapsychological, factors associated with perceptions of luck and of being lucky. Although much psychological research has referred to luck, surprisingly little work has made a detailed examination of people's beliefs about luck and luckiness. A data base of 126 members of the public who perceived themselves as especially lucky or unlucky was compiled. Qualitative data based upon interviews with a sub-sample of this group (i) highlighted the different ways in which people might describe themselves as lucky or unlucky, (ii) identified contrasting beliefs about luck among the sample and, (iii) suggested several potential psychological mechanisms related to perceived luckiness. Postal questionnaire studies conducted primarily with members of this data base examined these potential psychological mechanisms in a quantitative way. Participants were classified as perceiving themselves as lucky or unlucky using a specially constructed Perceived Luckiness Questionnaire. 'Lucky' and 'unlucky' participants were then compared on a number of measures of attitudes and personality traits, and various psychological tasks. It was found that lucky participants scored higher than unlucky participants on measures of optimism and self-esteem whilst unlucky participants scored higher on measures of depression, anxiety, anger and fatigue. In addition, unlucky participants performed significantly worse than lucky participants on a probability judgements task. Partial evidence was also found to suggest a bias in memory for lucky events over unlucky events among lucky participants. However, subjective interpretation of events was not found to be an important factor in perceived luckiness. The relationship between perceived luckiness and expectations of success, actual success, and playing behaviour in the UK National Lottery were also examined. Perceived luckiness was found to be related to expectations of success but not to playing behaviour nor actual success. These findings are drawn together and their implications discussed, along with methodological and conceptual considerations, with a view to developing a psychology of luckiness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology