All About Magic

Think you don't believe in magic? Think again. Our brains are designed to pick up on patterns: Making connections helped our ancestors survive. You're not crazy if you're fond of jinxes, lucky charms, premonitions, wish fulfillment, or karma. You're just human.

Recent posts on Magical Thinking

Is Atheism Just Another Religion?

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on July 19, 2016 in The Secular Life
Lacking a belief in the supernatural, atheism is not a religion.

White Like Me, Nice Like Me

By Laurie Essig Ph.D. on July 12, 2016 in Social Studies
"Nice" white people like me insist we are anti-racist. Yet we are "nice" precisely because we believe in our inherent goodness as white people.

That Other Kind of Time Management

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 20, 2016 in Ambigamy
More than we notice, we'd like to stop time, to live forever or at least to have our eternal truths live forever.

6 Biases That May Sub-Consciously Affect Your Thinking

Biases can become habitual over time and can even be triggered by others who wish to manipulate our behavior.

What’s Up With Illegal Drug Use?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 02, 2016 in How To Do Life
A The Eminents Interview: Dr. Nora Volkow.

Are There Really Lucky and Unlucky Pet Names?

Data from over a half-million pet insurance claims finds that some pet's names are more likely to be associated with accidents and mishaps

When Diversity Is Wrong

We take religion too seriously. If all religions are false, then they should all be excluded from our public life.

Some Facts about Facts

Humans have devised no better general approaches than those of science for adjudicating disputes about empirical facts.

Are You Superstitious? Yes!

Not me, you say? Ha! You are embedded in a culture built on superstition.

Follow Your Dream?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 29, 2016 in How To Do Life
Stories they don't tell you on Oprah

Wow! The Life-Changing Power of Experiencing Profound Awe

In honor of Earth Day 2016, the "overview effect" of astronauts witnessing Earth from outer space reminds us of the universal importance of protecting our planet's environment.

Defining and Debunking Assertions About Creativity

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 16, 2016 in A Sideways View
Is everyone creative? Can you learn to be (a lot) more creative? Are creativity people odd or difficult?

6 Reasons We Keep Playing the Lottery

By Kevin Bennett on April 12, 2016 in Modern Minds
Why do we keep playing when we know we shouldn't? The very long odds of winning the lottery don't seem to keep people from spending money.

If You Do This, Will You Get That?

By Donna Barstow on March 31, 2016 in Ink Blots Cartoons
How hard do you have to try, to make your dreams or goals come true? Maybe just one change is all you need.

Eureka! Deconstructing the Brain Mechanics of "Aha!" Moments

Overthinking can reduce your odds of having an insightful Aha! moment. Groundbreaking new research helps to explain why being too analytical often sabotages the creative process.

Attend Your Own Funeral and Find Meaning in Your Life

Few people have had the opportunity of being a protagonist in a psychodrama. This blog allows the reader to double for a 45-year-old man who speaks to himself from the grave.

What Do the Blind See When They Dream?

By Eliezer J. Sternberg M.D. on March 09, 2016 in NeuroLogic
The science of perception meets the mysteries of the subconscious.

Money Reality vs. Money Fantasy

By Michael F. Kay on February 25, 2016 in Financial Life Focus
There are natural blondes with electric blue eyes, and there are those who achieve the look with hair dye and contacts.
ZVIKA LAHAV Pikiwiki Israel/ Wikimedia Commons

8 Key Traits of Paranoid Thinkers

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on February 24, 2016 in Science of Choice
Paranoia is not a flaw of character. Paranoid individuals tend to have false ideas about the world and people.

Are You an Intuitive or Analytical Thinker?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on February 21, 2016 in Talking Apes
There are significant life consequences for people who are willing to engage in analytical thought processes.

How to Fantasize: Sex, Religion, Politics

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 17, 2016 in Ambigamy
Blaming politicians for lying is like watching a few hours of porn and, while cleaning up after yourself, cursing the porn stars for pretending they’re in love.

The Pull of Death and the Embrace of Life

There is a freedom in acknowledging that I will die.

The "Psychic"

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 02, 2016 in How To Do Life
How they "read" you

Do Christmas Miracles Really Exist?

For example, compared to Protestants, being a Catholic or a Jew is associated with lower mortality. The risk of death for Jews is about 0.80 times the risk for Protestants.

Wild-Card Trump Cards: Hate ISIS? Rethink Revelation

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 15, 2015 in Ambigamy
Even if your spiritual or religious beliefs are wholesome and virtuous you may be part of the problem.

Star Wars, Christmas, and Constraints on Secular Influence

People cherish their beliefs in a destiny-controlling higher power. But does this power have to be supernatural?

Humankind's Current Growing Pains Are Right On Schedule

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 26, 2015 in Ambigamy
Taking stock is a good use of the holiday season, hard this year what with the calamities all around us. Still, from a broad vista humankind is doing fine, just what we'd expect to be doing now given evolutionary and human history.

Doctor Prescribes a Reality Check for Homeopathy

By Guy P. Harrison on November 22, 2015 in About Thinking
Homeopathic products are popular these days. What does a doctor say about them?

Being Your Own Therapist

Being a good therapist to yourself means balancing tough love and soft love, brutal honesty with careful consideration.

This Is Your Brain at 100%

By Kevin Bennett on November 21, 2015 in Modern Minds
Is your brain operating at only 10% capacity? Here is why the answer is a lot like Bigfoot.