I stumbled across a journal article which explored superstitious beliefs, I found that it offered some insight into my own behaviour. It seems superstitions are initially formed by being unconsciously observant for their occurrence, they are then reinforced by any event that may fit the observed pattern - any event that goes against the observed pattern is conveniently ignored. This means, that without knowing it, I must have had an especially good recording on a day in which I turned my pipette puller on in the morning, used an active fly and was in a bad mood – and these associations have been reinforced ever since!
Another article explained that people often perform superstitious rituals as a way of coping with anxiety. As electrophysiology is an extremely fragile and temperamental technique, it makes a lot of sense as to why I, and so many other electrophysiologists have formed bizarre beliefs about their equipment. According to the article maintaining such rituals is likely to improve performance, so as crazy as many of my daily routines are, they’re staying!