Pik Ying CHAN

Date of Award


Degree Type

UG Dissertation

First Advisor

Prof. YEUNG Wai Lan, Victoria


Superstition is quite common in the modern society, people still hold superstitious beliefs and often engage in superstitious rituals that bring good luck. For example, Feng shui is the most popular superstition among Chinese and carrying a Feng shui luck charm such as mystic knot and red envelopes was believed to bring good luck. Likewise, in Western superstition, similar astrological talismans are believed to strengthen different qualities of the possessor. When one believes that certain object carried mystical power, having possession of it would grant the owner access to those powers. Nonetheless, the mystic power of these talismans is questionable and many believed it to be a placebo effect, in which the beneficial change is assumed result from one’s belief or expectation of certain treatment, or any other objects. Based on the prevalent belief on the effectiveness of superstitious luck charm, more investigations concerning this illusion should be made.

In addition, concerning the placebo effect, recent evidence suggests a new approach to understand placebo effect, in which the illusory feeling of benefit might occur once people merely possess the object, even before using it, which is called the precebo effect. To shed light on this precebo illusion, the present study seeks to demonstrate the precebo illusion of superstitious luck charm.

Recommended Citation

Chan, P. Y. (2014). Superstitious precebo illusion : does luck charm really gives you luck? It's mere possession does! (UG dissertation, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from