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Magic and the MindMechanisms, Functions, and Development of Magical Thinking and Behavior$
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Eugene Subbotsky

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393873.001.0001

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Magical Thinking and Imagination

Magical Thinking and Imagination

Chapter:
(p.79) 8 Magical Thinking and Imagination
Source:
Magic and the Mind
Author(s):

Eugene Subbotsky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393873.003.0008

In Chapter 8 (“Magical Thinking and Imagination”), the issue of how magical thinking works in the domain of nonphysical (imagined) reality is analyzed. The chapter begins with an overview of studies on children's understanding the difference between physical and mental objects, and then continues with experiments on children's and adults' preparedness to accept that real or imagined objects could be changed by a magic spell. The most interesting result of these experiments was that, unlike children, adults reported that magical manipulations had little effect on both real and their imagined physical objects, but had a strong effect on their imagined fantastical objects. Further experiments showed that participants' personally significant imagined (PERSIM) objects, such as their images of their future lives, were particularly strongly affected by the experimenter's magical manipulations. This result fits within the domain of “mind-over-mind” type of magic.

Keywords:   magical thinking, magical beliefs, imagination, mental objects, permanence, fantasy and reality

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