Lucky numbers are interesting because, although there is no scientific evidence that there is any such thing, even some of the most rational and logical people will consider one or more numbers to be of greater significance than others. Why is this, and what makes luck numbers so appealing?
One explanation for the popularity of lucky numbers is that human beings tend to have selective memories where gambling games are concerned. In other words, we remember the successes but forget the failures. So, if we play the lottery using our bank account numbers and win £75, we will remember that win for years after the event whilst at the same time conveniently forgetting that those very same numbers failed to win a prize for several years prior to the win.
Another explanation is that some numbers are personally significant to us. Maybe we were married on the 7th day of July in 2007. Or maybe our first child was born on the 30th at 3:30 in the afternoon. In such cases we might subconsciously think that the numbers 7, 3 or 33 are more lucky for us than any other numbers. Of course, the same applies negatively, so if we married on the 10th of October, went through hell and filed for divorce on our 10th anniversary, we might view 10 as being an unlucky number for us.
Yet another possible reason why lucky numbers are popular is that some people really do believe that certain numbers have an intrinsic “lucky energy” about them. For example, the number 7 has been viewed as lucky – or at least positively meaningful – for thousands of years, and has played a role in many mythological tales all over the world. Similarly, the number 13 has traditionally been viewed as being unlucky (or only “lucky for some” as bingo players would have it) for quite some time. The most superstitious people would naturally take these ideas on board, and they might even go further and identify their own “lucky” and “unlucky” numbers from an astrological or numerological point of view.
So much for why lucky numbers are popular, but why are they so appealing? Perhaps the simplest answer to this question is that lucky numbers make it easier for people to make their selections. If we are picking six numbers from 1 to 49, as we do for the Lotto, being able to home in on a smaller range by focusing on “lucky” numbers and avoiding “unlucky” ones makes the task easier. Another observation is that personally significant numbers (birthdays, anniversaries, phone numbers, etc) seem to “stand out from the page” because of the way human brains process information. It is therefore very possible to get into the habit of selecting the same numbers again and again without even realising that this is happening on a conscious level.
As we said at the outset, there is no scientific evidence for the validity of lucky numbers, but as long as people are playing numbers games, lucky numbers will continue to be used and believed in. And, hey, if you win, they really would be lucky for you in that particular instance.
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Saturday 20th December 2014
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