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

Magical Thinking and Unloved Daughters: Childhood and Beyond

By Peg Streep on November 13, 2017 in Tech Support
What helps you escape from an unhappy childhood—the power of your imagination–may get in the way of your recovery in adulthood.

Seeing Ghosts In Your Bedroom? It's Sleep Paralysis

By Temma Ehrenfeld on November 07, 2017 in Open Gently
Some people wake up briefly paralyzed, seeing ghosts, or feeling themselves hovering over their bodies. Here's what is probably going on.

Is Science a Religion?

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on October 30, 2017 in Excellent Beauty
It is common to hear that science is another religion. This view is wrong in all the ways that matter.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Halloween is upon us. As the fake furry spiders and cotton-woolish ersatz webs proliferate, what's really scary is dry ice in decorative pseudo-cauldrons and other misuses.

How the God You Worship Influences the Ghosts You See

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on October 29, 2017 in Out of the Ooze
While religion may ease our terror of death, it may also increase our chances of being haunted by ghosts and other spirits during our lifetime.

Decide to Be Fine: A Supernatural Contract to Keep Fighting

“Decide to be fine til the end of the week. Make yourself smile because you’re alive and it’s your job. And do it again the next week.” Do no-harm contracts help us keep fighting?

Kid Killers

By Joni E Johnston Psy.D. on October 22, 2017 in The Human Equation
In 2014, two social-media savvy 12 year old girls tried to kill a classmate to appease an imaginary internet horror figure. How typical is this of kids who kill?

Science Progressively Modifies Our Understanding of Agency

Do the increasing restrictions that the sciences' successes impose on agent explanations apply even to human agency?

15 Things To Know About Food: The Truth Nobody Tells You

Kale is overrated. Don't kid yourself. It's a fad. Next we'll be eating plankton, and they'll be telling us to sieve it through our teeth like whales. Have coffee and a bagel.

Creepy Halloween Destinations

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on October 01, 2017 in Out of the Ooze
There are a lot of creepy places in the world - and every one of them has a story.

Death and Transhumanism

By Clay Routledge Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in More Than Mortal
As people become less traditionally religious do they become more interested techno-religions that use science to solve the problem of death?

A Psycho-Proctologist Speaks: What Makes an Ass an Ass?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in Ambigamy
Psycho-proctology, the study of what makes an ass, focuses on the question of our age: What do Trump, Kim Jong Un, Putin, Stalin, trolls & your jerk ex-partner all have in common?

Science Class Isn't Working

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on September 29, 2017 in BrainSnacks
It appears that more Americans prefer to believe in creationism, angels, and UFOs than in climate change and evolution.

Answer Me This: Why Are Americans So Depressed?

By Stanton Peele Ph.D. on September 14, 2017 in Addiction in Society
We are growing more depressed, with young people in the lead, and our pharmaceutical response is obviously not working. How about psychedelics?

Becoming a Patient

Ever wonder why physicians delay going for help for themselves? Here are some answers.
Flickriver

The Therapist As Saint or Sinner

Therapists must learn how to handle the projections of their clients -- negative and positive -- with sensitivity and curiosity if they are to learn what is behind them.

Neither Ghost Nor Machine: The Emergence and Nature of Us

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 02, 2017 in Ambigamy
The biggest gap in psychology finally filled, an explanation for why things matter to you but not to your computer, bed or car.

America's Myopioid Epidemic

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 25, 2017 in Ambigamy
Myopium: Myopic (short-sighted) beliefs turning people into closed-minded fanatics, high on themselves, unrealistic about the future.

Can Science Provide Insight into the Arts?

By Robert H. Woody Ph.D. on August 15, 2017 in Live... In Concert
Research has shown that the diehard talent myth is not only useless in explaining anything but also harmful to people who might otherwise enjoy a more musically enriching life.

What’s the Deal with “Furries?”

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on July 24, 2017 in Animals and Us
An international team of social scientists has been studying the psychology of "furries" for a decade. What they have found is fascinating.

Wedding Madness

By Brenda Berger Ph.D. on July 23, 2017 in Hearts and Minds
At a moment of promising oneself to another, uncertainty and anxiety are masked by elaborate, and sometimes charming, strategies to secure the fantasy of a perfect wedding.

Unpacking David Lynch's Twin Peaks, The Return

By Judith Eve Lipton M.D. on July 22, 2017 in Peace and War
David Lynch's extraordinary TV series carries a serious message. It may also be the most ingenious and creative video of all time.

Matter- but Not Mind-blind—and Vice Versa

A pioneering study shows mentalism to vary inversely with mechanistic cognition as predicted by the diametric model.
Manu Praba / Wikipedia Commons CC BY 2.0

Be(lie)ve It or Not: Part One

Is belief a psychological condition? Why do we believe what we believe? What does belief mean? Is it many things?

Magical Thinking

The critical link between spirituality and science in the recovery process and the hope it offers to the addicted and the people who love them.

Americans Intoxicated

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on July 01, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
It’s an angry era in America. Instead of debating who’s right or wrong, let’s ask what kinds of work anger is doing for Americans now? And what's behind it?

A Possible Sign from God That He (It) Exists

By Izzy Kalman on June 14, 2017 in Resilience to Bullying
Could it be that a familiar cosmic illusion considered by scientists to be a pure coincidence is actually a clever sign from God to mankind that He exists?

Your Brain on Magic

By Jen Kim on June 13, 2017 in Valley Girl With a Brain
Do you believe in magic? Maybe you should.

Christianity Is Dying in the United Kingdom

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on May 24, 2017 in The Secular Life
Latest study shows that Christianity in Britain is in deep decline.

What’s Your Anti-Gravity Strategy?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 04, 2017 in Ambigamy
People seek transcendence by many means. Some come bundled with belief in supernatural magic at odds with science. Scientists can do more to help resolve the tension.