Messenger of misfortune. Scientists told what is wrong with the number 13 and why it scares people so much

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Herald of misfortune. Scientists reveal what's wrong with the number 13 and why it scares people so much

A new study focuses on the world's unluckiest number.

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The number 13 is considered the most unlucky number in the world. For every building with a 13th floor, there are 6 buildings that simply skip that floor to go to the 14th, and Friday the 13th is considered one of the creepiest days of the year. Scientists have wondered who and why so spoiled the reputation of this number, writes Inverse.

In a new study, scientists from the University of South Carolina, led by sociologist Barry Markowski, believe that the source of the bad reputation of the number 13 is vague and speculative, and so we decided to deal with this issue once and for all.

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Scholars have suggested that the source of the number's bad reputation is to be found in the controversial and extraordinary claims. According to Joe Nickell, who researches paranormal claims for the Skepticism Investigation Committee, one should look to the number 12 for answers. This number represents “fullness” — the number of months in the year, the gods on Mount Olympus, the signs of the zodiac, and even the apostles of Jesus. At the same time, the number 13, as it were, contrasts with this “good” and “perfect” number.

For example, the number 13 may be associated with some famous, unwanted guests at the table – for example, Loki was the 13th guest at a feast in Valhalla when he tricked the god Balder into killing. The same story with Judas, who was also the 13th guest at the Last Supper.

According to Barry Markowski, sociocultural processes can cause people to associate failure with any number. So why exactly 13? Scientists suggest that part of the negative reputation of the number 13 may be associated with a certain feeling of unfamiliarity or anomaly – in everyday life, the number 13 is simply less common than the number 12. The feeling of unfamiliarity, according to sociologists, is not capable of causing phobias, but subconsciously we We approve of what we know and disapprove of the unknown. This could partly explain the reputation of the number 13.

The researchers suggest that initially fear appeared on the same model as memes appear. A certain social network is needed, be it a village or Twitter, and then the idea itself will go to the masses. By the same principle, superstitions arose many years ago that you should not step on a gap, go under a ladder, or need to knock on wood.

Barry Markowski notes that in fact the number 13 is the same meme that is associated in people not with an event, but with bad luck. It resonates with society for various reasons and spreads to the masses. For example, an accident on a full moon or on Friday the 13th will be more memorable than any other accident. In fact, once acquired, this fragment of pseudo-creation gives people an imaginary sense of control over the “evil” associated with it.

It is curious that these processes are observed not only in society. For example, researchers recall that after the failure of the Apollo 13 mission, NASA stopped sequentially numbering shuttle missions.

Researchers believe that giving in to superstitions that are inherently false can be harmful, and therefore the bad reputation of the number 13 should be put an end to now.