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

Follow Your Dream?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 29, 2016 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

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 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 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?

The science of perception meets the mysteries of the subconscious.

Money Reality vs. Money Fantasy

By Michael F. Kay on February 25, 2016 Financial Life Focus
There are natural blondes with electric blue eyes, and there are those who achieve the look with hair dye and contacts.

8 Traits of Paranoid Thinkers

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 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 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 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.