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

Focus On Trump's Acts, Not His Psychology

By Allen J Frances M.D. on February 11, 2017 in Saving Normal
We must challenge Trump on his outrageous behaviors and constant lies, not on his motivations and mental status.

Voting for the Magic Wand, or Trump's Phallic Victory

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on January 09, 2017 in Beyond Freud
Voters are influenced by powerful fantasies that pundits don't talk about.

Trusting Your Gut: An Excuse For Not Thinking?

By Hank Davis on January 07, 2017 in Caveman Logic
You're going to have to listen to more than your "gut" to get through life's major decisions. Don't be afraid to question what you hear. It's not a sin to be intelligent.

Freedom of Dissociation

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 20, 2016 in Ambigamy
The freedom that many of us crave is the freedom from having to learn from our mistakes, indeed from facing inconvenient truths at all.

When Ambition Creeps Into Spirituality

By Maggie Rowe on December 14, 2016 in Sin Bravely
Spirituality and personal ambition are often tied together. Is this a mistake?

Haunted Houses: What Keeps the Legends Alive?

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on December 09, 2016 in Out of the Ooze
Whether a place seems truly haunted can very much be in the mind of the beholder.

Can These Zombies Be Killed?

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on December 06, 2016 in Time Out
Zombies of 20th century hatred are stalking the country again. We must defeat them.

For a Greener Holiday Let’s Do Nothing

As we make our to-do list for the holidays, leave some time for doing nothing. Find a bit of quiet away from the frazzled shopping crowds and slow down. Be as green as you can.

The Psychology of Why We Play Lotto

By Ryan Anderson on December 04, 2016 in The Mating Game
Why do people engage in such 'curious' behaviour as playing the lottery? Don't they know that it's staggeringly unlikely that they'll win? Often, they do know, but play anyway

Fear and Voting

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on November 23, 2016 in Excellent Beauty
We all live in groups defined by shared fears, and shared ways of allaying those fears. Our fears therefore function as shibboleths. And thus my fears are invisible to you.
Pixabay

Monsters

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on November 22, 2016 in This Is America
Monsters, real and imagined, take shape from the interplay between the inherent fears of human nature and a specific historical context.

Why Even Some Smart People Are Superstitious

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 22, 2016 in How To Do Life
Hidden benefits of magical thinking

Time Travel: When "Be Here Now" Isn't Enough

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on November 06, 2016 in Creating in Flow
There's something compelling about time travel novels in which characters go back in time to change or fix the past. Here are a few new books—and worlds—to try out.

The “Lesser of Two Evils” Fallacy

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 01, 2016 in Ambigamy
If you treat all disappointing choices as choosing the lesser of "evils" you're likely to end up with real evil.

Your Most Incredible Days, and How Often You Can Expect Them

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on November 01, 2016 in Intentional Insights
Are crazy life events signs of miracles or karma?

Supernatural Stimuli: Why Women Love Vampires

Women should be repulsed by those blood-sucking shadow-dwelling vampires. Is there a natural explanation for why women are instead unnaturally attracted to these villains?

Giving Voice to Grief in a Novel Way

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on October 09, 2016 in Creating in Flow
A doctor imagines cloning his lost son to keep him alive in the minds of his debut novel's readers. This Q&A with the author explains the why and the how.

The Glory of Doubt

By Hank Davis on September 27, 2016 in Caveman Logic
It takes courage and integrity to express Doubt. Faith is not always a virtue. In fact, it may be a central human failing and we should stop glorifying it.

The Truth About the Law of Attraction

Millions of people are unsuccessful at achieving goals using the Law of Attraction (LOA). The reason? The LOA does not exist! Hear why from a certified LOA expert.

Before You Give Up on Someone...

By Tim David on September 07, 2016 in The Magic of Human Connection
Is "relationship grit" more important than chemistry, connection, or even love?

Madness and Guns

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on September 04, 2016 in Beyond Freud
The ability to control anger, and to distinguish fantasy from reality, are difficult tasks to master. What does this mean for access to weapons?

What Kinds Of People Believe Animals Go To Heaven?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 19, 2016 in Animals and Us
Two recent studies have found many people agree that animals from dogs to snakes and insects experience life after death.

A Simple Exercise to Boost Optimism (And Improve Health)

This visualization exercise is easy (and fun) to do and research shows it can have big payoffs.

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.