Do you forward a chain mail even though you know that your action would not bring any promised luck?

This is because you might consider the cost of ignoring rationality as low relative to the cost of ignoring intuition, suggests new research, to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Review.

The researchers found that detecting an irrational thought and correcting that error are two separate processes, not one, unlike most dual-system cognitive models assume.

"Even when the conditions are perfect for detecting an error - when people have the ability and motivation to be rational, and when the context draws attention to the error - the magical intuition may still prevail," said researcher Jane Risen from University of Chicago's Booth School of Business in the US.

Certain variables create situations in which intuition is likely to override rational thought. For example, people may acquiesce if they can rationalise their intuition by thinking that a particular situation is special.

Understanding how the process of 'acquiescence' i.e. people can detect irrational thought and choose not to correct it, unfolds in magical thinking, can help provide insight into how it is that people knowingly behave irrationally in many other areas of life, the study said.