Monday, April 9, 2012

The Luck of the Irish...Are you really that Lucky?

It all starts with St. Patrick's Day which is celebrated every year on March 17th.  To us, it's a huge holiday for drinking and partying and celebrating St. Patrick himself but to the people in Ireland, it's really just another day.  About thirty four million people in the world claim that they are of Irish decent.  Some of the most common things that people think are lucky are cereal hiding lucky charms, the handing out of shamrocks, potential pots of gold at the end of rainbows, and leprauchans. The purpose of this topic is to see if people really can have the luck of the irish as they claim to. I found a quote that is great to disprove this notion. It states,  "Luck is probability taken personally."  The question at hand is, "Can one really up the ante and say they have the luck of the irish or is it purely based on probability taken the wrong way?" The information found on this topic is as follows. Skinner (1948) initially studied the ‘superstitious’ responses of pigeons and stated that experimental birds behaved as if there were a causal relation between their behavior and the presentation of food. He then made an analogy to human behaviours such as adhering to rituals to change one’s luck when playing cards (Skinner, 1948). Specifically, in these instances people believe that fate controls their outcomes, and hold superstitious beliefs in order to influence their future as reflected in problem gambling or use of lucky talismans, engaging in simple acts such as touching wood or crossing fingers in an effort to prevent bad fortune and / or bring on good (Vyse, 1997). Our group is presenting on the Vyse book so I found this very interesting that it was mentioned in this article I found for my post.  Personally, my point of view is that is untrue in a sense. I understand how people can think that when they're having a good day and things seem to be in their favor, that it is purely luck. I don't believe this because I am Irish and I don't feel that I'm any luckier than anyone else.  Everyone seems to think that fate and luck have a lot to do with their daily events and the things that happen almost by chance. If someone is Irish, they will generally think that nothing bad will happen to them because they have the "luck of the irish."  Probability is based on luck and fate in a different way.  Probability is the likelihood that something will definitely happen. Although neither of these things can be proven either way, I find it interesting that so many people legitimately believe in the luck of the irish especially on St. Patrick's Day. 

By: Amanda Wood


The Luck Factor Video

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