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

Are People Naturally Scientific?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Hot Thought
Some social and developmental psychologists have claimed that people—even children—naturally think like scientists. I find this claim implausible because: people are naturally religious rather than scientific; everyday thinking frequently deviates from scientific reasoning; and science is a relatively recent cultural development.

Do Friends Shame You For Not Believing Them?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in Ambigamy
We have freedom of speech, but we have to earn our audience and credibility. The sooner we realize this, the freer we become and the more responsibility we take for getting heard and winning hearts and minds.

Personality Disorders Explained 2: Origins

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on February 24, 2015 in Feeling Our Way
Every cognitive map of the social world also defines a role for the person to play; a personality disorder implies a limited number of acceptable roles.

Want to Damage Your Relationship? Here Are 2 Easy Ways

By Douglas LaBier Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in The New Resilience
Troubled couples who seek therapy often show patterns of withdrawal and silent expectation when dealing with conflict; a kind of dance that deepens the damage to their relationships. New research shows how that happens.

What’s Behind Women’s Intuition?

By Audrey Nelson Ph.D. on February 22, 2015 in He Speaks, She Speaks
The ability to decode nonverbal cues is ultimately valuable and essential for effective communication. So women must ask themselves, how can we use these skills to enhance our effectiveness instead of letting them divert us? Women must not focus on others for a definition of what is “normal” or acceptable behavior; they must define it for themselves.

The Mind of the Authoritarian

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on February 22, 2015 in A Sideways View
It was around 70 years ago that the famous book entitled THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY was published. What was the central theory and how is it considered today

Queen of Consciousness

By Susan Blackmore Ph.D. on February 20, 2015 in Ten Zen Questions
I was “Queen of consciousness” in this month’s PT magazine, talking about out-of-body experiences, hallucinogenic drugs, anorexia and the future of technology.

Hyper-Mentalism, Hyper-Empathizing, and Supernatural Belief

Researchers reveal that the predictions of the diametric model are fulfilled where supernatural beliefs of various kinds are concerned.

Psychosis and the Varieties of Thought

By Ann Olson Psy.D. on February 18, 2015 in Theory and Psychopathology
This article examines and compares scientific knowledge and how it is obtained to knowledge relying on less well-founded bases and to the pseudo-knowledge maintianed by schizophrenics and paranoid schizophrenics, in particular. The concepts of "association" and "confidence" pertain to that knowledge that we embrace or may seem to be foisted upon us.

13: A Deadly Number

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on February 13, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
This Friday the 13th is the anniversary of the arrest of a man who'd murdered 13 people, starting on another Friday the 13th.

Antidepressant Superstition

By Jonathan Shedler PhD on February 10, 2015 in Psychologically Minded
Why do people become dependent on drugs that are no more effective than sugar pills?

5 Quick and Easy Bull Sandwich Recipes

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 10, 2015 in Ambigamy
For years, I've been taking notes on the moves we all can make (me included) to eliminate all doubt about our opinions no matter what they are. Lately, I've begun presenting them humorously as recipes for BS sandwiches. Here are five.

The Celestine Prophecy

By The Book Brigade on February 10, 2015 in The Author Speaks
We all start off as nonbelievers, says James Redfield. But if we open ourselves to the spirituality just below the surface of our everyday challenges, interesting things start to happen. We become more intuitive. And we get luckier.

The Trouble With Spirituality

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 08, 2015 in Ambigamy
Spirit, by definition is an immaterial goal-oriented cause of material effects. Anyone can claim its on their side. The go-to ghost who sides with you is a nice friend to have but lousy friend for your opponents to have. Time to give up this go-to ghost and yet it isn't easy. Even most scientists rely on them.

Brooks's Brothers

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 08, 2015 in One Among Many
David Brooks outed himself as an admirer of religion. When religion rears its head, reason goes down the culvert. Take a look at what he said.

Staying Home

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 04, 2015 in One Among Many
There are two psychologies of religion. One shows that religion is a poor way of ‘knowing.’ The other shows that religion is a stubborn social phenomenon.

Freud's Office: The Birth of Modern Thought

By Jean Kim M.D. on February 03, 2015 in Culture Shrink
Freud's office was the site of a deceptively quiet revolution: Can his ideas still save modern society?

Why Thinking Positive Thoughts Won't Get You What You Want

Thinking positive thoughts won't necessarily change your life.

A Personal Perspective on Football Superstitions

By Rebecca Jackson on January 31, 2015 in School of Thought
Certainly I don’t want my daughter to believe in psychologically unfounded superstitious behavior. I understand that in this immense world, children have very few things that that feel control over.

Revelation and Conquest

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on January 29, 2015 in One Among Many
Faith and knowledge must not be confused. There is a firewall between them. Knowledge depends on evidence and argument; it critically remains open to uncertainty, investigation, and revision. Faith is a well-imagined rock.

Superstitions and the Super Bowl

By Ira Hyman on January 28, 2015 in Mental Mishaps
Put on your team jersey and don your special hat. Make sure you have the right chips and dips. Are your friends ready? Will everyone be in the correct seat on the couch drinking the exact right beverage? Your team is depending on you. You’ve got to help them win. If you get any of this wrong, your team will lose and it will be your fault.

Renewable Energy

Most people prefer not to go to work. You have the power to change that.

Day 26: Using Your Strengths In Addiction Recovery

Learn how to use your strengths to help deal with your addictive tendencies

The Possibility of an Afterlife

By Steve Taylor Ph.D. on January 27, 2015 in Out of the Darkness
Is it possible for atheists to believe in life after death? There are some rational reasons why the possibility of some form of 'after-consciousness' shouldn't be rejected out of hand.

Killing the Cartoon

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on January 26, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
It’s useful to see terrorists not as freaks but as emergency versions of everybody’s effort to substantiate an identity and get real. The terrorists in Paris shared many characteristics of rampage killers in the US, but they also have much to tell us about the self under stress, including our own.

Boyhood and the Judgment of Artistic Value

By Stuart Vyse Ph.D on January 18, 2015 in Believing in Magic
As viewers, we are not entirely unconscious dreamers. When we sleep we are often able to stand apart from the action of our dreams and recognize that the chaotic story we are witnessing is not real. This kind of double consciousness is always true of our experience of art. When we watch or read or listen to a fictional story, we know it is a fiction.

Why Are Images Considered Sacred or Offensive by Some?

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on January 14, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
Some Muslims are offended by images of the Prophet Mohammed. What is the history of offensive images in modern religions? Why have people considered images so powerful? Why could the killers' reactions be an example of the images "punching up" not "punching down," as critics of Charlie Hebdo have proclaimed? (This is a photo of an early symbolic representation of Buddha)

Bump Start

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on January 13, 2015 in In Excess
One of the more interesting and somewhat controversial male psychological conditions that have been reported relatively frequently in psychological research literature is Couvade syndrome (sometimes called sympathetic pregnancy) but is not generally recognized as a bona fide medical condition. But what does the psychological literature tell us about this disorder?

The Effects of Psychology on Athletic Performance

Understanding of psychology’s effect on athletic performance has broadened with increased study in the field of athletics at both the university and professional levels. Numerous psychological influences on athletic performance have been discovered, including many that are subconscious.

Go on The Road Right Now

By Ran Zilca on January 11, 2015 in Confessions of a Techie
As the New Year starts, go on the road. Think of a way you can detach yourself from your everyday schedule for a little while.