Superstitious Behavior and Magical Thinking

Posted on: 9th May 2023




Part 1: Superstitious Behavior and Magical Thinking (due by midnight on Thursday)

As you did in Week 4, create short scenarios, like those in your text in Practice Thinking 12.3 (but different), for two thinking errors and/or magical thinking. It is optional to tie your scenarios to your topic. Do not say which thinking error your scenario falls in, but note it down for yourself. Watch to see if students identify your errors correctly, and let them know why they are correct or incorrect. Additionally, do you remember the question in the Week 1 Welcome video about whether your sister’s earrings bring her luck. What do you think? Are your thoughts different from when you watched the video?

Part 2: Identifying and Diagnosing Cases (due by midnight on Thursday) For Part 2, analyze the hypothetical cases in the text in Practice Thinking 13.3. Choose either Case 1 or Case 2 and answer the questions below about the case (refer to Table 13.1 in the text). Try to respond to a case that fewer students have responded to so that about half of the class responds to Case 1 and half to Case 2.

1. Is the behavior maladaptive? Why or why not?

2. Is the behavior abnormal? Why or why not?

3. Is the behavior distressing? Why or why not?

If, after answering the questions above, you believe the individual described in the case has a mental disorder, use the information in Chapter 13, including Tables 13.2 and 13.3 to suggest a diagnosis. Additionally, suggest what other information is needed in order to make a decision and accurate diagnosis.

Chapter 12 and 13

Critical Thinking in Psychology and Everyday Life


Research Presentation                                                                                        50 points

You will also prepare a brief PowerPoint presentation (five slides) of your paper to share in class during our final meeting of the semester. Your presentation should summarize the key findings from your research presentation and should be no more than 5 minutes in length.


Your presentation should follow a similar format as your paper, and should be structured in the following way:


·         Title slide with title of presentation and your name (1 slide)


·         Include a slide presenting your topic and background information (1 slide)


·         Briefly discuss the key points of your findings from your research (1 slide)


·         Summarize and conclude your presentation (1 slide)


·         References (if cited in presentation) (1 slide)


Rubric for Research Presentation:


·         5 points: Introduces topic, explains relevance/issue/problem


·         10 points: Provides background on topic


·         20 points: Synthesizes key issues related to the chosen topic, including but not limited to: discussion of methods utilized to assess topic, theoretical approaches to the topic, disease causation, healing methods, etc.


·         5 points: Presentation is visually appealing and checked for grammatical issues


·         10 points: Presentation stays within time limit provided, limited to five slides

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Superstitious Behavior and Magical Thinking

Growing up spending most of my time with my grandmother, it was a good feeling knowing that I am protected from black magic that would visit at night and take me away. Yes, darkness is associated with magic, evil, witchcraft. During those early days, my grandmother would spend time telling us stories about old people and how black magic was common in the community. As a result of such threat, every parent had to “take care” of the family and protect them from black magic which would visit late in the night when everyone was asleep to steal babies. Some parents would cut a small portion of the skin and put “medicine” to protect the children while others would use chants. The choice of protection method would depend on every family. To our family, my grandmother put a ring around my waist.

This ring has been in my waist since then and I was never stolen by the black magic at night. Growing up, I believed this ring was my source of protection and the reason why I am still alive. Even though there is no direct connection between my protection and the ring, I still believe it is helpful (Kiken, 2019). This is magical or superstitious thinking.

Identifying Diagnosis Case

Case 1

Matt behavior is maladaptive since he believes that spending more time with himself allows him to focus on his creative work. He refused to adapt to routine class attendance (Lysaker et al., 2018). Maladaptive behaviors are those behaviors that prevent you from adapting to a new or difficult environment or circumstances. Matt is having abnormal behavior since his behaviors are disturbing and distressing. For example, saying that he is hearing people talking from the wall and insisted on changing the room is disturbing. Yes, he is equally having a distressing behavior he has a problem connecting with people leading to separation from his ex-girlfriend Sara. From the above behaviors, I can diagnose Matt with Schizophrenia as a mental disorder.



Kiken, L. G. (2019). Mind-body therapy use and magical thinking. Social Science & Medicine237, 112340.

Lysaker, P. H., Pattison, M. L., Leonhardt, B. L., Phelps, S., & Vohs, J. L. (2018). Insight in schizophrenia spectrum disorders: relationship with behaviour, mood and perceived quality of life, underlying causes and emerging treatments. World Psychiatry17(1), 12-23.

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