Believing in Magic

Believing in Magic : Psychology of Superstition

3.83 (80 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

We all live in a world of uncertainty, but why do many people, who are quite sensible about other aspects of their lives, respond to this uncertainty with superstitious beliefs or actions? To answer this question, Stuart Vyse examines current behavioural research and shows that everyday superstitions are the natural result of several well-understood psychological processes. Written in a style that is both entertaining and informative, this book demonstrates how complex - even paradoxical - human behaviour can be understood through scientific investigation.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 270 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 27.94mm | 362.87g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 halftone, 14 line drawings, bibliography, references, index
  • 0195078829
  • 9780195078824

Review quote

"Believing in Magic is an engaging introduction to psychology focused on a topic, superstition, of inherent interest to us all."--Valerie M. Chase, The Boston Book Review "Believing in Magic is an engaging introduction to psychology focused on a topic, superstition, of inherent interest to us all."--Valerie M. Chase, The Boston Book Review "Many books deal with irrational beliefs but have little to say about why people cling to superstitions...and what can be done to stem the rising tide of interest in pseudoscience and the paranormal. Professor Vyse has filled this vacuum with a book as entertaining as it is enlightening."--Martin Gardner
"This book can be rewritten or updated every fifteen years, I believe, since new claptrap presents itself every day. And there are always victims out there ready to surrender their common sense for a talisman...or a ritual that puts them 'in' with their peers and gives them the warm glow of being avant-garde. Meanwhile, I urge the rationalists out there to snap up this book when they see it. It may be heading for the bonfires."--James Randi, The James Randi Educational Foundation, Fort Lauderdale, Florida


"Professor Vyse presents the historical, sociocultural, and psychological basis for superstition in a clear, interesting, and even entertaining way. What easily could have been a dry, over-intellectualized tome is, instead, a gem of a book that engaginly tells the story of what science has learned about superstition, of how pervasive and powerful superstition can be, and of why critical thinking skills are so important in everyday life."--Douglas A. Bernstein, Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign "Many books deal with irrational beliefs but have little to say about why people cling to superstitions...and what can be done to stem the rising tide of interest in pseudoscience and the paranormal. Professor Vyse has filled this vacuum with a book as entertaining as it is enlightening."--Martin Gardner
"This book can be rewritten or updated every fifteen years, I believe, since new claptrap presents itself every day. And there are always victims out there ready to surrender their common sense for a talisman...or a ritual that puts them 'in' with their peers and gives them the warm glow of being avant-garde. Meanwhile, I urge the rationalists out there to snap up this book when they see it. It may be heading for the bonfires."--James Randi, The James Randi Educational Foundation, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
"Professor Vyse presents the historical, sociocultural, and psychological basis for superstition in a clear, interesting, and even entertaining way. What easily could have been a dry, over-intellectualized tome is, instead, a gem of a book that engaginly tells the story of what science has learned about superstition, of how pervasive and powerful superstition can be, and of why critical thinking skills are so important in everyday life."--Douglas A. Bernstein, Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign "Many books deal with irrational beliefs but have little to say about why people cling to superstitions...and what can be done to stem the rising tide of interest in pseudoscience and the paranormal. Professor Vyse has filled this vacuum with a book as entertaining as it is enlightening."--Martin
Gardner
"This book can be rewritten or updated every fifteen years, I believe, since new claptrap presents itself every day. And there are always victims out there ready to surrender their common sense for a talisman...or a ritual that puts them 'in' with their peers and gives them the warm glow of being
avant-garde. Meanwhile, I urge the rationalists out there to snap up this book when they see it. It may be heading for the bonfires."--James Randi, The James Randi Educational Foundation, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
"Professor Vyse presents the historical, sociocultural, and psychological basis for superstition in a clear, interesting, and even entertaining way. What easily could have been a dry, over-intellectualized tome is, instead, a gem of a book that engaginly tells the story of what science has learned
about superstition, of how pervasive and powerful superstition can be, and of why critical thinking skills are so important in everyday life."--Douglas A. Bernstein, Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign "Many books deal with irrational beliefs but have little to say about why people cling to superstitions...and what can be done to stem the rising tide of interest in pseudoscience and the paranormal. Professor Vyse has filled this vacuum with a book as entertaining as it is enlightening."--Martin
Gardner
"This book can be rewritten or updated every fifteen years, I believe, since new claptrap presents itself every day. And there are always victims out there ready to surrender their common sense for a talisman...or a ritual that puts them 'in' with their peers and gives them the warm glow of being
avant-garde. Meanwhile, I urge the rationalists out there to snap up this book when they see it. It may be heading for the bonfires."--James Randi, The James Randi Educational Foundation, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
"Professor Vyse presents the historical, sociocultural, and psychological basis for superstition in a clear, interesting, and even entertaining way. What easily could have been a dry, over-intellectualized tome is, instead, a gem of a book that engaginly tells the story of what science has learned
about superstition, of how pervasive and powerful superstition can be, and of why critical thinking skills are so important in everyday life."--Douglas A. Bernstein, Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
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About Stuart A. Vyse

Stuart A. Vyse is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Connecticut College.
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Table of contents

1.: Believing in Magic. 2.: The Superstitious Person. 3.: Superstition and Coincidence. 4.: Superstitious Thinking. 5.: Growing-up Superstitious. 6.: Is Superstition Abnormal, Irrational, or Neither?. 7.: A Magical View of the World. References. Index
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Rating details

80 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 29% (23)
4 39% (31)
3 24% (19)
2 5% (4)
1 4% (3)
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