First-of-its-kind research shows good luck superstitions can beneficially affect performance. How? They increase our confidence, explains Lin Edwards. "In each case the superstition was essentially found to boost a participant’s confidence in their own abilities, and this resulted in enhanced performance. The increased confidence also encouraged them to work harder at the task and to persist until they succeeded." The researchers designed four experiments to test whether good-luck superstitions (such as use of a lucky charm) improved performance in motor dexterity, memory, solving anagrams, or playing golf. They had noticed that many sports players have lucky charms or engage in superstitious behavior before their events.