Blame fate to hide incompetency? You're not alone
How many times have you, when faced with a hard decision or defeat, invoked fate as your saviour?
Difficult decisions tend to make us feel stressed and uncomfortable - we don't want to feel responsible if the outcome is less than desirable, shows research.
We deal with such difficult decisions by transferring responsibility for the decision to fate.
"Fate is a ubiquitous supernatural belief, spanning time and place. It exerts a range of positive and negative effects on health, coping, and both action and inaction," said researchers Aaron Kay, Simone Tang, and Steven Shepherd from Duke University in North Carolina, US.
They hypothesised that people may invoke fate as a way of assuaging their own stress and fears - a way of saying "It's out of my hands now, there's nothing I can do."
Do people invoke fate when they have to make decisions that are personally but not socially significant, such as where to invest money?
And are we just as likely to invoke luck or other supernatural worldviews when faced with a difficult decision?
"Belief in fate may ease the psychological burden of a difficult decision, but whether that comes at the cost of short-circuiting an effective decision-making process is an important question for future research," the researchers noted.
"Belief in fate, defined as the belief that whatever happens was supposed to happen and that outcomes are ultimately predetermined, may be especially useful when one is facing these types of difficult decisions," they explained.
The findings were published in the journal Psychological Science.
(Posted on 20-02-2014)