This research involves developing techniques to boost wellbeing and success, including happiness, relationships, productivity and leadership. Perhaps the best known aspect of this work involved a decade-long project that identified the psychological principles used by lucky people to create their good fortune.
The Luck Factor
This research has involved working with hundreds of exceptionally lucky and unlucky people over a ten-year period. Initial work was funded by The Leverhulme Trust, and undertaken in collaboration with Matthew Smith and Peter Harris (then both University of Hertfordshire). I then built upon this research by identifying four principles used by lucky people to create good fortune in their lives:
Principle One: Maximise Chance Opportunities
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.
Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.
Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune
Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.
Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on the ill fortune, and take control of the situation.
A second part of the work then involved developing techniques that help people think and behave like a lucky person. This work resulted in a series of specially designed, and easy to follow, exercises collectively referred to as ‘Luck School’. The results suggested that a significant number of participants report positive and long-lasting change, including increased levels of perceived luck, self-esteem, confidence and health.
A comprehensive account of this work is presented in my well-known book, The Luck Factor.
A summary of the research is reported in:
Wiseman, R. (2003). The Luck Factor, Skeptical Inquirer, 27(3), Download here
The research has also been reported in the following academic articles:
Chotai, J. & Wiseman, R. (2005). Born lucky? The relationship between feeling lucky and month of birth. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 1451-1460. Download here
Wiseman, R. & Watt, C. (2004). Measuring superstitious belief: Why lucky charms matter. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 1533-1541. Download here
Smith, M. D., Wiseman, R. & Harris, P. (2000). The relationship between ‘luck’ and psi. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 94, 25-36. Download here
Smith, M. D., Wiseman, R., Machin, D., Harris, P. & Joiner, R. (1997). Luckiness, competition, and performance on a psi task. Journal of Parapsychology, 61, 33-44. Download here
Smith, M. D., Wiseman, R., Harris, P. & Joiner, R. (1996). On being lucky: The psychology and parapsychology of luck. European Journal of Parapsychology, 12, 35-43.
Wiseman, R., Harris, P., & Middleton, W. (1994). Luckiness and psi: An initial study. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 60(836), 1–15.