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a. Attention getting material – see if a volunteer from the class is willing to put themselves in a superstitious situations, breaking a mirror, walking under a ladder, etc. b. Thesis statement – I will be talking about superstitions and why we are superstitious c. Preview subtopics – I will use the cause/effect organizational pattern. First, I will talk about what superstitions are (a general definition), and go a little into the history of superstitions. Second, I will talk about why we are superstitious and the general psychology behind the rituals d.
Credibility statement – I will mainly use the sources Web MD, Psychology Today and Forbes
a. I will talk about what superstitions are; knocking on wood, avoiding black cats, etc. I will slightly touch on the difference between being superstitious and mental disorders such as OCD. b. Attention getting material – I will either put on a baseball hat or get a ball and display a common sports superstition c. Present evidence
i. More than ½ of Americans admitted to being at least a little superstitious# (Gallup poll via Forbes) ii. Once you get into superstitions that involve excessive counting, such as tapping a light switch 3 times before turning the light on/off is really a sign of OCD# (Web MD) iii. Michael Jordan wore his UNC shorts under his uniform in every game. In order to cover them up he started wearing longer shorts which inspired the current trend in the NBA # (sports illustrated) iv. What if you were walking down the sidewalk? Would you jump over the lines in order to avoid breaking your mother’s back? * (hypothetical)
a. I will go over the 7 laws of superstitious thinking
i. Objects carry essence
1. Visual aid – Piece of jewelry or clothing
2. Evidence – Imagine how important things are to you that belonged to a loved one?* (hypothetical)
ii. Symbols have power
1. Visual aid – 4 leaf clover
2. Evidence – Imagine how hard it is to find one of these in a whole patch of clovers? Hence the luck associated with it.* (hypothetical)
iii. Actions have distant consequences
1. Evidence – (Karma) Rebirth is a fundamental concept of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.# (Fact)
iv. The mind knows no bounds
1. Evidence – I remember a few times when I have called friends and they said “I was just thinking about you!” them assuming they have some sort of mild mind power. * (Lay testimony)
v. The soul lives on
1. Visual Aid – show a clip of paranormal activity (if there is time) 2. Evidence – “our souls are built from something much more fundamental than neurons”.# (Expert testimony)
vi. The world is alive
1. Visual aid – show phone and talk about how when it doesn’t work, it’s taking “revenge” against me 2. Evidence – an experiment was done showing college students 3 shapes that moved around a screen, the students described these shapes with humanistic terms.# (fact)
vii. Everything happens for a reason
1. Evidence – “coincidences…are the manna of magical thinking”# (expert testimony) Explain the significance of evidence – The evidence I have for my speech shows facts and stats of Americans and their superstitious habits. The material I will present will be recognizable (Michael Jordan) and relatable (childhood superstitions-crack vs momma’s back)
I will wrap up by saying how scientifically, everything is not as connected as we tend to think – objects are just objects, etc.
a. Restate main points – no matter how much we learn about this “magical thinking” even the experts that study the psychology behind it are still prone to crossing their fingers even if it’s just a gesture or habit b. Closure and final thought – Even those of us who “know better” are readily prone to superstitious thinking. Whether karma, luck or destiny is real, we as humans will always try to find something to explain the unkown.
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