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New research reveals people ‘born lucky’


New research reveals people ‘born lucky’

A few weeks ago, Professor Richard Wiseman launched the SBS "Born Lucky" mass experiment at the 2006 New Zealand International Science Festival to investigate whether people’s luck is related to their month of birth. On Saturday 8 July, he announces the result.

Around 2000 members of the New Zealand public took part in the online study, submitting their birthdate and rating the degree to which they were lucky or unlucky. The results show that those born in the summer months (September – February) considered themselves luckier than winter-borns (March – August). 68% of people born in December considered themselves lucky, making it the luckiest month – this figure dropped to just 47% in the unluckiest month, April.

“These results are very exciting”, commented Professor Wiseman, “it suggests that the temperature around the time of a person’s birth has a small but real effect on their personality. The effect might be due to changes in how some parents interact with their babies during summer and winter, but we won’t know for certain until we have conducted additional research”.

The experiment follows a similar British study conducted by Professor Wiseman in 2004. In this previous work, those born in the British summer months (March – August) rated themselves as luckier than winter borns (September – February).

“It has been great to be able to travel around the world and carry out the experiment in the Southern Hemisphere”, noted Wiseman, “this was the only way of knowing that it was the temperature during the month that mattered”.

UK summer-borns include rugby player Jonny Wilkinson (May), author J K Rowling (July), and footballer David Beckham (May).

UK winter-borns include singer Peter Andre (Feb), and Prince Charles.

However, winter-borns should not be too down hearted at the results. The effect is small and Professor Wiseman’s other research has shown that people can improve their luck by being more optimistic and making the most of the opportunities that come their way.

Professor Wiseman's keynote address about the results of the SBS "Born Lucky" experiment, and his research into the psychology of luck is to be held at 7.30pm on Saturday 8 July, at the Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin Town Hall.

Professor Wiseman is visiting New Zealand as part of a nationwide speaking tour supported by British Council.

Richard Wiseman is appearing in other centres at:

11 July Wellington
8pm "Laughter, luck and lying"
Paramount Theatre, 25 Courtenay Place

12 July Auckland
7pm "The Luck Factor"
Auckland Museum, APEC Room

The mass experiment is supported by SBS.

For news, information and events go to the New Zealand International Science Festival 2006 website - www.scifest.org.nz

Richard Wiseman is available for interview.

For further information, or for a copy of the graph that accompanies the above release, please contact: Felicity Connell, British Council, Mobile +64 21 535 268, email felicity.connell@britishcouncil.org.nz


ENDS

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