Superstitious Rituals & French Statistics

A quick mid-December update.

My latest Skeptical Inquirer online article, “Do Superstitious Rituals Work?” was published on December 8th. In it, I summarize some very interesting new research that shows that rituals are effective in reducing anxiety and improving performance in a skilled activity. As part of the article, I included mention of San Francisco Giant’s third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, who performs an elaborate ritual before batting. Sandoval is a switch-hitter, and the video below captures his batting ritual from both the right and left sides. According to the research I cite in the article, Sandoval’s ritual probably improves his hitting.

I recently gave permission to have one of my Skeptical Inquirer articles translated into French so that it could be reprinted in a French magazine called Science et Pseudo-sciences. The original title of the article was “Moving Science’s Statistical Goalposts,” which was translated as “Statistiquement significatif: Les critères sont-ils suffisamment exigeants?” You can read a pdf of the French version by clicking here.

That’s it!

Winter Solstice is only a few days away on December 21. After that, the days start to get longer.

Happy Holidays to all!