Psychology of Magic

Light piece in The Guardian on the psychology of magic.

“…not content with just enjoying the tricks, psychologists are now using their effects on the mind to work out how we handle the floods of sensory information coming into our brains and process it into a mental picture of the world around us. Magic is a deception, a disruption of that orderly mental picture where things seem to float in mid-air or coins and cards vanish in front of our eyes. Scientists now believe that, by mapping out how our brains are deceived, they could even help to unlock some of the mysteries of consciousness itself.”

The idea of magic unlocking the mysteries of consciousness is a bit far-fetched. Still, if there’s a man for the job, it’s Professor Richard Wiseman, who was the youngest member of The Magic Circle before becoming a professional psychologist.
Bursting the magic bubble

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 28 July 2005

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Images: Creative Commons License