The Historical Origins of Common Superstitions

In a colorfully animated TED-Ed lesson, psychologist and author Stuart Vyse explains the historical origins of common superstitions as well as the psychological component of believing, despite overarching logic to the contrary.

So why do people cling to these bits of forgotten religions, coincidences, and outdated advice? Aren’t they being totally irrational? Well, yes, but for many people, superstitions are based more on cultural habit than conscious belief. After all, no one is born knowing to avoid walking under ladders or whistling indoors, but if you grow up being told by your family to avoid these things, chances are they’ll make you uncomfortable, even after you logically understand that nothing bad will happen.