You’re not at all superstitious. But you occasionally knock on wood or worry that mentioning a streak will invariably end it. A couple of professors of behavioral science got to wondering: “Why do people who do not believe that knocking on wood has an effect on the world often do it anyway?” Their answer: Because it works. I don’t believe that. But I didn’t want to jinx myself by not including it in NextDraft.

+ Want to get better at reading the thoughts of others? Try reading literary fiction.