【3】 C  次の会話は,「迷信」をテーマとして,日本のある大学において行われた公開講座でのやりとりの一部である。[  32  ][  34  ]に入れるのに最も適当なものを,それぞれ下の①~④のうちから一つずつ選べ。

 

Moderator   The title of today’s discussion is “Superstitions what they are, and why people believe in them.” Our guest speakers are Joseph Grant, a university professor who lives here in Japan, and Lily Nelson, a visiting professor from Canada. Joseph, can you explain what a superstition is?

Joseph       Superstitions are beliefs for which there is no obvious rational basis. For example, there are various dates and numbers that people are superstitious about. In many places, “Friday the 13th” is thought to be unlucky, and here in Japan, 4 and 9 are also considered unlucky. In contrast, 7 is known as “Lucky 7.” A superstitious person believes that actions such as choosing or avoiding certain numbers can influence future events even though there is no direct connection between them. Believing in superstitions is one of the ways humans can make sense of a set of unusual events which cause someone to feel lucky or unlucky. This seems to have been true throughout history, regardless of race or cultural background.

Moderator   So, it is your view that [  32  ].

 

 superstitions are rationally based on certain dates and numbers

 superstitions can he used to explain strange happenings around us

 superstitious people believe race and culture are related to luck

 superstitious people tend to have identical beliefs regarding history

 

Joseph       That’s right. Superstitions tend to come from a combination of primitive belief systems and coincidence things that happen by chance.

Moderator   Could you tell us more about that?

Joseph       A primitive belief system develops from the natural human tendency to look for patterns in the world around us. Noticing patterns allows us to learn things quickly. However, sometimes chance or coincidental events are mistaken for a pattern, like passing a series of tests using the same pencil every time. The pencil is unrelated to passing the tests, but becomes a “lucky” pencil because of the coincidental connection. So, we may come to believe that one event causes another without any natural process linking the two events. I experienced this myself when I was called “Ame-otoko” or “Rain-man” by Japanese friends. By coincidence, I was present on occasions when it was raining and so gained a “rainy reputation.” Rationally speaking, we know that nobody can make rain fall from the sky, but our primitive belief system, combined with coincidence, creates a superstition around the “Rain-man.”

Moderator   How interesting! So, you are saying that [  33  ].

 

 an “Ame-otoko” or “Rain-man” causes rain to fall from the sky

 coincidental events or chance patterns can create superstitions

 looking for patterns is an unnatural action for humans

 primitive belief systems create coincidental events

 

Moderator   How about you, Lily? Do you agree with Joseph?

Lily             Yes, I do, especially regarding the notion of coincidence or chance. In an attempt to better understand human behavior, an American psychologist conducted a famous experiment called “Superstition in the Pigeon” on a group of hungry birds. The pigeons were in cages and a feeding machine automatically delivered small amounts of food at regular time intervals. The psychologist observed that the pigeons began to repeat the specific body movements that they had been making whenever the food was delivered. He believed that the pigeons were trying to influence the machine to deliver food by their repeated movements. He assumed that we humans also do the same and try to influence future events by performing non-logical actions. Superstitious humans, just like the “superstitious” pigeons, associate an action with an outcome even though there is no logical connection.

Moderator   So, that psychologist thought from the experiment that [  34  ]

 

 pigeons and humans both perform superstitious actions

 pigeons and humans both tend to influence machines

 the pigeons knew when the food would be delivered

 the pigeons’ repeated actions influenced the food delivery

 

Lily             Yes, that’s exactly right.

Moderator   Thank you, Joseph and Lily, for sharing your knowledge on superstitions and why people are superstitious. Let’s take a quick break here before we move on with the discussion.

 

 

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