"When it comes to superstitions, social scientists have generally agreed on one thing: they are fundamentally irrational. 'Magical thinking' (as it has been called) is defined as the belief that an object, action or circumstance not logically related to a course of events can influence its outcome. In other words, stepping on a crack cannot, given what we know about the principles of causal relations, have any direct effect on the probability of your mother breaking her back. Those who live in fear of such a tragedy are engaging in magical thought and behaving irrationally. Yet in their study, Damisch and colleagues challenge the conclusion that superstitious thoughts bear no causal influence on future outcomes."