Episode 018 Very Superstitious with Dr. Kristi Erdal

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Apologies to Stevie Wonder for the title...

Also, at times I sound like I am in a well.  I apologize for that. I promise at no time was I held against my will, and at no time did I need to capture a dog in an attempt to get out of the well.

I came across Dr. Erdal on the You Are Not So Smart podcast where she discussed her research on sleep and a placebo effect with one of her then students (the podcast was recorded about two years ago).  At the end of the podcast she mentioned that she was in the process of writing a book on youth sports.  Naturally that piqued my interest so I went searching the internet only to find that she is a professor of psychology at Colorado College in Colorado Springs where I live.

Her bio says that she has also done research on sports superstitions and concussions.  We decided to discuss superstitions and youth sports on this podcast.  Perhaps on down the road we can get into concussions.

On the podcast, we discuss how superstitions form and how early work from Dr. B.F. Skinner with pigeons gave great insight into the illusory connections animals and (sadly) humans make between actions.  So, in essence, we and the athletes we coach might not be much smarter than a pigeon.  We discuss some research that she and another student did on superstitions and how it gave them insight into learned helplessness.  We finish up discussing aspects of youth sports that went into her book.



Link to You Are Not So Smart podcast on the Placebo Effect