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

The "Psychic"

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 02, 2016 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 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 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 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 Modern Minds
Is your brain operating at only 10% capacity? Here is why the answer is a lot like Bigfoot.

Near Death Experiences: Paranormal or Normal?

The latest Neuroscience on what happens when we are about to die.

The Know-It-All's Code

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 10, 2015 Ambigamy
Life is hard and complex but it doesn't have to feel that way. Follow the Troll Code and you can have all the smug self-satisfaction you want.

Ben Carson and the Mandela Effect

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 09, 2015 Talking Apes
It’s not just that our memories are unreliable. Our intuitions about how memory works are inaccurate as well.

Brahe's Blunder, or We Aren't as Important as We'd Like

By David P. Barash Ph.D. on November 06, 2015 Pura Vida
One of the most shocking but important realizations is that we aren't central to the world, neither as individuals nor as a species. But people have had a hard time acknowledging this.

Less Medication, More Talk Therapy

The U.S. is lagging way behind other nations in its treatment of the mentally ill.

What's Wrong With Norway?

Conventional religious activities may be on the decline in secularized northern Europe, but many Norwegians appear to be enthralled with ghosts.

What Makes a House Feel Haunted?

What is it in our evolutionary past that makes some types of houses feel so creepy?

Why do People Believe in Supernatural Evil Forces?

By Clay Routledge Ph.D. on October 31, 2015 More Than Mortal
Do people gain any psychological benefits from believing that evil supernatural forces are real? Emerging research reveals the benefits of believing in evil spirits.

The Dangers of Uninformed Belief

By Peter A. Ubel M.D. on October 29, 2015 Critical Decisions
Russell Wilson’s pronouncements not only risk convincing his fans to waste money, but could cause some to delay necessary medical care, figuring those concussion symptoms will resolve with a gulp or two of miracle water.

Ridding Happiness Contaminant 2: LHT Anxiety

While we have to endure all sorts of hassles and hardships in life, we need not experience anxiety about them. Learn how to never turn a hardship into a horror and thus never fall prey to anxiety.

Psychosis and Resistance to Taking Medications

Why do schizophrenics discontinue their medications? Often, this is done for delusional reasons, based on the fact that meds are only partially effective. Incomplete effectiveness of medication and the punitive aspects of psychosis allow for confusion regarding the causes of psychosis, further motivated by desperation of the schizophrenic to find relief.

What Men Need to Play With—It's Not Guns

By Paul Joannides Psy.D. on October 02, 2015 As You Like It
With each new mass shooting, we've allowed the NRA to further its agenda. We've allowed it to use senseless tragedy after tragedy to help our gun culture flourish.

Five Reasons People Don't Like Atheists

By Clay Routledge Ph.D. on October 01, 2015 More Than Mortal
Atheists seem to really drive people nuts. Polls identify atheists as untrustworthy, unelectable for public office, and unworthy of marrying into one’s family.

Political Correctness Gone Mad

By Leon Pomeroy Ph.D. on September 29, 2015 Beyond Good and Evil
The thinking we do when we don't think about the thinking we do: microaggressions and trigger-warnings:

When Gentrification Hits Home

By Ariel Gore on September 24, 2015 Women and Happiness
I belonged here because my new father said I belonged here. "If anyone asks you where you're from," my new father said, "you say 'who, me?' and you point to the tallest, closest mountain you can see and you say, 'I just hiked down from the top of that mountain this morning. Where are you from?'"

Primal Glee

By Bernard L. De Koven on September 22, 2015 On Having Fun
There's no such practice as Kefiatry. But it sure sounds like fun.

Apples, Oranges, and Metatheory

This article utilizes an example regarding the concrete existence of "apples" and "oranges" as compared to the concept of "fruit". Psychosis, like apples and oranges, has a visceral and immediate quality, and the actuality of brain chemistry regarding psychosis is a metatheory that subsumes the "theories" of psychotic individuals.

Tilting At The Windmills Of Stereotype Threat

By Jesse Marczyk on September 05, 2015 Pop Psych
Would you expect my belief about the math abilities of a group to which you belong to have much of an impact on your actual performance? No? Me neither.

Superman Needs You

A powerful leader in politics, business, in love has “magnetism.” But leaders depend on followers, who follow because it’s rewarding. Consider the attention commanded by Donald Trump or even Adolf Hitler. Lives depend on it. What’s the magnetic secret?

10 Uncommon Tips For Addressing The Self-Esteem Paradox

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 11, 2015 Ambigamy
10 off-the-beaten-path tips for beating your path to sustainable calmfidence--calm confidence in your personal worth.

Top Ten Health Tips That Have Never Worked for Me

Ever since a seemingly acute viral infection in 2001 turned into a chronic illness, I’ve received dozens and dozens of tips on how to regain my health. This piece is intended to be lighthearted, not meanhearted, which is why I’d be thrilled if someone reading one of these tips can honestly say: “That one helped me!”