Lacking control, Pattern Perception, and Symptom Overendorsement


  • Leonie Banning Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University


Whitson and Galinksy (2008) claimed to have shown that a state of chaos – i.e. uncontrollability – promotes pattern perception and spurious beliefs. In this lab report, we discuss an attempt to replicate Whitson and Galinsky’s (2008) results. Furthermore, we tried to go one step further by exploring the possibility that uncontrollability and fantasy proneness promotes symptom overendorsement as an internal strategy to create order. In a within-subjects design, we asked 28 individuals to think about an uncontrollable situation or a situation in which they had been in full control. Next, participants were given a Snowy Picture Task (VPT), a Superstitious Beliefs Test (SBT), and a test tapping into symptom overendorsement (SIMS). We found that whether being in control or lacking control does not influence symptom overendorsement. Furthermore, we were not able to replicate Whitson and Galinsky’s (2008) results. Limitations and implications are discussed.