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UK News The Science Behind Your (Irrational) Fear of Friday the 13th

15:25  13 december  2019
15:25  13 december  2019 Source:   livescience.com

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The science is clear: Friday the 13 th is a normal day. Yet, people continue to think this is destined to be a bad day. "It helps people to reduce anxiety," said Neil The history of Friday the 13 th varies depending on whom you ask, but Dagnall said it doesn't matter why people think the day is unlucky.

Friday the 13 th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. It occurs when the 13 th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday

a hand holding up a sign: Friday the 13th © Provided by Live Science Friday the 13th

Today is the second (and last) Friday the 13th of the year. Even though the date is known throughout Western culture as one tainted with evil and negativity, it's really just another Friday on the calendar. There is no difference between today and yesterday, or last Friday, regarding luck. Right?

It's 2019, and people are far less superstitious than were people who lived in the Middle Ages, when superstition was commonplace. Well, maybe not, said Kenneth Drinkwater, a parapsychologist at Manchester Metropolitan University in England. "We're actually really superstitious now, if not more so, and yet we think we're not," he said.

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The science is clear: Friday the 13 th is a normal day. Yet, people continue to think this is destined to be a bad day. "It helps people to reduce anxiety," said Neil The history of Friday the 13 th varies depending on whom you ask, but Dagnall said it doesn't matter why people think the day is unlucky.

Here's the story behind why 2015 has 3 Friday the 13 ths. November 13, 2015 is a Friday , ushering in Act III of this year’s epic Friday the 13 th trilogy. What’s more, last year’s lone Friday the 13 th on June 13, 2014, occurred exactly 39 weeks (3 x 13 weeks) before the Friday the 13 th in March 2015.

Related: 13 Common (But Silly) Superstitions

Lacking evidence

There is no scientific evidence to suggest this day has an increased chance of bad occurrences compared with other days. But that doesn't mean scientists haven't tried to find any.

In Thomas W. Lawson's 1907 novel, "Friday, the Thirteenth," a broker takes advantage of the superstition and creates a Wall Street panic on the evil day. The book was the likely inspiration for a number of scientific examinations of stock market returns on Fridays that fell on the 13th day of the month compared with all other Fridays. In 2001, Brian Lucey, a statistician and business professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, published his analysis of a few of those studies and found several flaws. The studies had narrow assessments overall, focusing on just a few markets or a single stock exchange. But when he analyzed the data as a whole, Lucey found that internationally, with few exceptions, returns on Friday the 13th were typically just a little higher than returns on other Fridays.

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The main reason behind the fear of Friday the 13 th is due to the negative associations with Friday and the number 13 in many religions and cultures. Triskaidekaphobia is persistent, irrational and unwarranted fear of the number 13. This number has always…

The Science Behind Your ( Irrational ) Fear of Friday the 13 th . Inbreeding Caused the Distinctive 'Habsburg Jaw' of 17th Century Royals That Ruled Europe.

The scientific evidence for cause and effect may not be there, but people may still alter their behavior on Friday the 13th in a way that causes certain things to happen that day, Drinkwater said. For example, he said, the way people might drive might be different from their usual. But the few studies that have retroactively examined traffic accidents haven't found statistically significant trends to suggest Friday the 13th is more dangerous than other Fridays on the road.

However, in 1994, Scanlon and colleagues reported that the risk of hospital admission as a result of a car accident is as much as 55 percent higher on Friday the 13th compared with other Fridays. "Staying at home is recommended," the researchers concluded. But it's important to note that the study was published in the Christmas issue of the BMJ, which is a tongue-in-cheek edition of the medical journal that normally publishes serious research.

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Of all the days to stay in bed, Friday the 13 th is surely the best. It’s the title of a popular (if increasingly corny) There’s even a term for the terror the day evokes: Paraskevidekatriaphobia was coined by the psychotherapist Donald Dossey, a specialist in phobias, to describe an intense and irrational fear of

“13 Freaky Things That Happened on Friday the 13 th ,” Live Science . Researchers estimate that at least 10 percent of the U.S. population has a fear of the number 13, and each year the even more specific fear of Friday the 13 , known as paraskevidekatriaphobia, results in financial losses in excess

Cultural comfort

The science is clear: Friday the 13th is a normal day. Yet, people continue to think this is destined to be a bad day. "It helps people to reduce anxiety," said Neil Dagnall, a parapsychologist at Manchester Metropolitan University. "Superstition generally serves as a mechanism to provide reassurance," he said.

Coming up with a reason why things went bad or might go bad in the future is a way for people to feel in control when they really aren't. "Psychologically, superstitions arise from the desire to influence external events, decrease anxiety and reduce uncertainty," Drinkwater explained.

Related: 13 Numbers That Rival the Number 13

When it comes to Friday the 13th, people are cautious because their culture has taught them to associate negative things with the date. That's why superstitions are confined to particular cultures and have many variations, the parapsychologists explained. For example, in Italy, the number 17 is far unluckier than 13, and in China, it's the number 4.

The history of Friday the 13th varies depending on whom you ask, but Dagnall said it doesn't matter why people think the day is unlucky. "What tends to happen with many of these [superstitions] is nobody's quite sure why they arise so there's all these different versions, but the superstition itself remains culturally ingrained," Dagnall said.

Besides, he said, "I don't think people know often why they do things."

  • Origins of Friday the 13th: How the Day Got So Spooky
  • What Really Scares People: Top 10 Phobias
  • End of the World? Top Doomsday Fears

Editor's Note: This article was first published in 2018 and updated on Dec. 13, 2019.

Original article on Live Science.

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