Science of Magic Bibliography- 2018 Update

The Science of Magic continues represent a productive vein of empirical research.

To the best of my knowledge this is a complete list of experiments (please do let me know if you think I've missed one). That being said, this list is limited to experiments and does NOT include reviews, commentaries, theoretical papers, or surveys. Furthermore, the list only includes studies involving adult participants. 



Please cite as: Tompkins, M. L. (2018). Science of Magic Bibliography. Retrieved from

1.      Hodgson, R., and S. J. Davy. (1887). The possibilities of mal-observation and lapse of memory from a practical point of view. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 4, 381-495.

2.     Jastrow, J. (1896). Psychological notes upon sleight-of-hand experts. Science, 3, 685-689.

3.     Triplett, N. (1900). The psychology of conjuring deceptions. The American Journal of Psychology, 11, 439-510.

4.     Besterman, T. (1932). The psychology of testimony in relation to paraphysical phenomena: Report of an experiment. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 40, 363-387.

5.     Marcuse, F. L., & Bitterman, M. E. (1944). A classroom demonstration of "psychical phenomena." The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 39, 238-243.

6.     Jones, W. H. and D. Russell. (1980). The selective processing of belief disconfirming information. European Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 309-312.

7.     Benassi, V. A Singer, B., & Reynolds, C.B. 1980. Occult Belief: Seeing is believing, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 19, 337.

8.     Trinkaus, J. (1980). Preconditioning an audience for mental magic: An informal look. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 51, 262.

9.     Smith, M. D. (1993). The effect of belief in the paranormal and prior set upon the observation of a ‘psychic’ demonstration. European Journal of Parapsychology, 9, 24-34.

10.   Wiseman, R., & Morris, R. L. (1995). Recalling pseudo‐psychic demonstrations. British Journal of Psychology, 86, 113-125.

11.    Subbotsky, E. (1996). Explaining impossible phenomena: object permanence beliefs and memory failures in adults. Memory, 4, 199-233.

12.   Subbotsky, E. (1997). Explanations of unusual events: phenomenalistic causal judgements in children and adults. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 15, 13-36.

13.   Subbotsky, E. (2001). Causal explanations of events by children and adults: Can alternative causal modes coexist in one mind? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 19, 23-46.

14.   Subbotsky, E. & Quinteros, G. (2002). Do cultural factors affect causal beliefs? Rational and magical thinking in Britain and Mexico. British Journal of Psychology, 93, 519-543.

15.   Wiseman, R., Greening, E., & Smith, M. (2003). Belief in the paranormal and suggestion in the séance room. British Journal of Psychology, 94, 285-297.

16.   Hergovich, A. (2004). The effect of pseudo-psychic demonstrations as dependent on belief in paranormal phenomena and suggestibility. Personality and Individual Differences, 36, 365-380.

17.   Johansson, P., Hall, L., Sikstrom, S., & Olsson, A. (2005). Failure to detect mismatches between intention and outcome in a simple decision task. Science, 310, 116-119.

18.   Kuhn, G. & Tatler, B. W. (2005). Magic and fixation: Now you don't see it, now you do. Perception, 34, 1153-1161.

19.   Wiseman, R., & Greening, E. (2005). It's still bending: Verbal suggestion and alleged psychokinetic ability. British Journal of Psychology, 96, 115-127.

20.  Kuhn, G. & Land, M. F. (2006). There's more to magic than meets the eye! Current Biology. 16, R950.

21.   Linney, Y. M., & Peters, E. R. (2007). The psychological processes underlying symptoms of thought interference in psychosis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 2726-2741.

22.  Kuhn, G. & Tatler, B. W. Findlay J.M. Cole G. G. (2008). Misdirection in magic: Implications for the relationship between eye gaze and attention. Visual Cognition, 16, 391-405.

23.  Parris, B. A., Kuhn, G., Mizon, G. A., Benattayallah, A., & Hodgson, T. L. (2009). Imaging the impossible: An fMRI study of impossible causal relationships in magic tricks. Neuroimage, 45, 1033-1039.

24.  Hall, L., Johansson, P., Tärning, B., Sikström, S., & Deutgen, T. (2010). Magic at the marketplace: Choice blindness for the taste of jam and the smell of tea. Cognition, 117, 54–61.

25.  Kuhn, G. Kourkoulou, A. Leekam, S.R. (2010). How magic changes our expectations about autism. Psychological Science, 21, 1487-93.

26.  Kuhn, G., & Findlay, J. M. (2010). Misdirection, attention and awareness: Inattentional blindness reveals temporal relationship between eye movements and visual awareness. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,63, 136-146.

27.   Subbotsky, E. (2010). Curiosity and exploratory behavior toward possible and impossible events in children and adults. British Journal of Psychology, 101, 481-501.

28.  Cavina-Pratesi, C., Kuhn, G., Ietswaart, M., Milner, A. D. (2011). The Magic Grasp: Motor Expertise in Deception. PLoS ONE, 6, e16568. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0016568

29.  Cui, J., Otero-Millan, J., Macknik, S. L., King, M., & Martinez-Conde, S. (2011). Social misdirection fails to enhance a magic illusion. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5, 103. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00103

30.  Hergovich, A., Gröbl, K., & Carbon, C. C. (2011). The paddle move commonly used in magic tricks as a means for analysing the perceptual limits of combined motion trajectories. Perception 40, 358.

31.   Otero-Millan, J., Macknik, S. L., Robbins, A., & Martinez-Conde, S. (2011). Stronger misdirection in curved than in straight motion. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00133

32.  Demacheva, I., Ladouceur, M., Steinberg, E., Pogossova, G., & Raz, A. (2012). The Applied Cognitive Psychology of Attention: A Step Closer to Understanding Magic Tricks. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26, 541-549.

33.  Hall, L., Johansson, P., & Strandberg, T. (2012). Lifting the veil of morality: Choice blindness and attitude reversals on a self-transforming survey. PloS one, 7, e45457. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045457

34.  Smith, T. J., Lamont, P., & Henderson, J. M. (2012). The penny drops: Change blindness at fixation. Perception, 41, 489-492.

35.  Danek, A. H., Fraps, T., von Müller, A., Grothe, B., & Öllinger, M. (2013). Aha! experiences leave a mark: facilitated recall of insight solutions. Psychological Research, 77, 659-669.

36.  Hall, L., Strandberg, T., Pärnamets, P., Lind, A., Tärning, B., & Johansson, P. (2013). How the polls can be both spot on and dead wrong: Using choice blindness to shift political attitudes and voter intentions. PloS one, 8, e60554. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060554

37.   Johansson, P., Hall, L., Tärning, B., Sikström, S., & Chater, N. (2013). Choice Blindness and Preference Change: You Will Like This Paper Better If You (Believe You) Chose to Read It! Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. doi: 10.1002/bdm.1807

38.  Rieiro, H., Martinez-Conde, S., & Macknik, S. L. (2013). Perceptual elements in Penn & Teller’s “Cups and Balls” magic trick. PeerJ, 1, e19. doi: 10.7717/peerj.19

39.  Shalom, D. E., de Sousa Serro, M. G., Giaconia, M., Martinez, L. M., Rieznik, A., & Sigman, M. (2013). Choosing in Freedom or Forced to Choose? Introspective Blindness to Psychological Forcing in Stage-Magic. PloS one,8, e58254. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058254

40.  Smith, T. J., Lamont, P., & Henderson, J. M. (2013). Change blindness in a dynamic scene due to endogenous override of exogenous attentional cues. Perception, 42, 884-886.

41.   Ward, T. A., Gaynor, K. J., Hunter, M. D., Woodruff, P. W., Garety, P. A., & Peters, E. R. (2013). Appraisals and responses to experimental symptom analogues in clinical and nonclinical individuals with psychotic experiences. Schizophrenia Bulletin, sbt094.

42.  Aardema, F., & Johansson, P. (2014). Choice Blindness, Confabulatory Introspection, and Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms: A New Area of Investigation. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 7, 83–102. 

43.  Barnhart, A. S., & Goldinger, S. D. (2014). Blinded by magic: Eye-movements reveal the misdirection of attention. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01461.

44.  Danek, A. H., Fraps, T., Von Mueller, A., Grothe, B., & Öllinger, M. (2014). Working Wonders? Investigating insight with magic tricks. Cognition, 130, 174-185.

45.  Danek, A. H., Fraps, T., von Müller, A., Grothe, B., & Öllinger, M. (2014). It’s a kind of magic—what self-reports can reveal about the phenomenology of insight problem solving. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1408.

46.  Mohr, C., Koutrakis, N., & Kuhn, G. (2014). Priming psychic and conjuring abilities of a magic demonstration influences event interpretation and random number generation biases. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01542

47.   Tachibana, R., & Kawabata, H. (2014). The effects of social misdirection on magic tricks: How deceived and undeceived groups differ. i-Perception, 5, 143-146. doi: 10.1068/i0640sas

48.  Williams, H., & McOwan, P. W. (2014). Magic in the machine: a computational magician's assistant. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01283

49.  Wilson, K. & French C. C. (2014) Magic and memory: Using conjuring to explore the effects of suggestion, social influence and paranormal belief on eyewitness testimony for an ostensibly paranormal event. Frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01289

50.  Beth, T., & Ekroll, V. (2015). The curious influence of timing on the magical experience evoked by conjuring tricks involving false transfer: decay of amodal object permanence? Psychological Research, 79, 513-522

51.   Danek, A.H., Öllinger, M., Fraps, T., Grothe, B., & Flanagin, V.L. (2015). An fMRI investigation of expectation violation in magic tricks. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 84.

52.  Olson, J. A., Demacheva, I., & Raz, A. (2015). Explanations of a magic trick across the life span. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00219

53.   Olson, J., Amlani, A., & Rensink, R. (2015). Using magic to influence choice in the absence of visual awareness. Consciousness and Cognition, 37, 225- 236.

54.  Phillips, F., Natter, M. B., & Egan, E. J. (2015). Magically deceptive biological motion—the French Drop sleight. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 371. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00371

55.    Smith, T. J. (2015). The role of audience participation and task relevance on change detection during a card trick. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00013

56.  Griffiths, T. L. (2015). Revealing ontological commitments by magic. Cognition136, 43-48.

57.   Bouvet, R., & Bonnefon, J. F. (2015). Non-reflective thinkers are predisposed to attribute supernatural causation to uncanny experiences. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 955-961.

58.  Kuhn, G., & Rensink, R. A. (2016). The vanishing ball illusion: A new perspective on the perception of dynamic events. Cognition, 148, 64-70.

59.   Kuhn, G., Teszka, R., Tenaw, N., & Kingstone, A. (2016). Don’t be fooled! Attentional responses to social cues in a face-to-face and video magic trick reveals greater top-down control for overt than covert attention. Cognition, 146, 136-142.

60.  Thomas, C., & Didierjean, A. (2016). No need for a social cue! A masked magician can also trick the audience in the vanishing ball illusion. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 78, 21-29.

61.    Williams, H., & McOwan, P. W. (2016). Magic in Pieces: An Analysis of Magic Trick Construction Using Artificial Intelligence as a Design Aid. Applied Artificial Intelligence, 30, 16-28.

62.  Wiseman, R. J., & Nakano, T. (2016). Blink and you’ll miss it: the role of blinking in the perception of magic tricks. PeerJ, 4, e1873.

63.  Thomas, C., & Didierjean, A. (2016). The ball vanishes in the air: can we blame representational momentum?. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1-8.

64.  Tachibana, R., & Gyoba, J. (2016). Effects of different types of misdirection on attention and detection performance. Took Psychologic Folia, 74, 42-56.

65.  Thomas, C., & Didierjean, A. (2016). Magicians fix your mind: How unlikely solutions block obvious ones. Cognition, 154, 169-173.

66.  Caffaratti, H., Navajas, J., Rey, H. G., & Quian Quiroga, R. (2016). Where is the ball? behavioral and neural responses elicited by a magic trick. Psychophysiology. 53, 1441-1448.

67.   Hergovich, A., & Oberfichtner, B. (2016). Magic and Misdirection: The Influence of Social Cues on the Allocation of Visual Attention While Watching a Cups-and-Balls Routine. Frontiers in Psychology, 761.

68.  Olson, J. A., Landry, M., Appourchaux, K., & Raz, A. (2016). Simulated thought insertion: Influencing the sense of agency using deception and magic. Consciousness and Cognition, 43, 11-26.

69.  Tompkins, M. L., Woods, A. T., & Aimola Davies, A. M. (2016). Phantom Vanish magic trick: Investigating the disappearance of a non-existent object in a dynamic scene. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 950.

70.   Hedne, M. R., Norman, E., & Metcalfe, J. (2016). Intuitive Feelings of Warmth and Confidence in Insight and Noninsight Problem Solving of Magic Tricks. Frontiers in Psychology, 7.

71.   Kawakami, N., & Miura, E. (2017). Can Magic Deception Be Detected at an Unconscious Level? Perception46(6), 698-708.

72.   Moss, S. A., Irons, M., & Boland, M. (2017). The magic of magic: The effect of magic tricks on subsequent engagement with lecture material. British Journal of Educational Psychology87(1), 32-42.

73.   Lin, J. L., Cheng, M. F., Lin, S. Y., Chang, J. Y., Chang, Y. C., Li, H. W., & Lin, D. M. (2017). The effects of combining inquiry-based teaching with science magic on the learning outcomes of a  friction unit. Journal of Baltic Science Education16, 218-227. 

74.   Rieznik, A., Moscovich, L., Frieiro, A., Figini, J., Catalano, R., Garrido, J. M., Heduan, F. A., Sigman, M., & Gonzalez, P. A. (2017). A massive experiment on choice blindness in political decisions: Confidence, confabulation, and unconscious detection of self-deception. PloS one, 12(2), e0171108.

75.   Danek, A. H., & Wiley, J. (2017). What about false insights? Deconstructing the Aha! experience along its multiple dimensions for correct and incorrect solutions separately. Frontiers in psychology7, 2077.

76.   Ortega, J., Montañes, P., Barnhart, A., & Kuhn, G. (2018). Exploiting failures in metacognition through magic: Visual awareness as a source of visual metacognition bias. Consciousness and cognition65, 152-168.

77.   Thomas, C., Didierjean, A., & Kuhn, G. (2018). It is magic! How impossible solutions prevent the discovery of obvious ones?. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1747021817743439.

78.  Scott, H., Batten, J. P., & Kuhn, G. (2018). Why are you looking at me? It’s because I’m talking, but mostly because I’m staring or not doing much. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 1-10.

79.   Thomas, C., Didierjean, A., & Kuhn, G. (2018). The Flushtration Count Illusion: Attribute substitution tricks our interpretation of a simple visual event sequence. British Journal of Psychology.

80.  Barnhart, A. S., Ehlert, M. J., Goldinger, S. D., & Mackey, A. D. (2018). Cross-modal attentional entrainment: Insights from magicians. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 1-10.

81.   Kuhn, G., & Teszka, R. (2018). Don’t get misdirected! Differences in overt and covert attentional inhibition between children and adults. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology71(3), 688-694.

82.  Schönauer, M., Brodt, S., Pöhlchen, D., Breßmer, A., Danek, A. H., & Gais, S. (2018). Sleep Does Not Promote Solving Classical Insight Problems and Magic Tricks. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience12, 72.

83.  Lesaffre, L., Kuhn, G., Abu-Akel, A., Rochat, D., & Mohr, C. (2018). Magic performances-When explained in psychic terms by university students. Frontiers in Psychology9, 2129.

84.  Strandberg, T., Sivén, D., Hall, L., Johansson, P., & Pärnamets, P. (2018). False beliefs and confabulation can lead to lasting changes in political attitudes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147(9), 1382-1399. 

85.  Thomas, C., Didierjean, A., & Kuhn, G. (2018). It is magic! How impossible solutions prevent the discovery of obvious ones?. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1747021817743439.

86.  Danek, A. H., Williams, J., & Wiley, J. (2018). Closing the gap: connecting sudden representational change to the subjective Aha! experience in insightful problem solving. Psychological research, 1-9.

87.  Lan Y., Mohr C., Hu X., Kuhn G. (2018). Fake science: The impact of pseudo-psychological demonstrations on people’s beliefs in psychological principles. PLoS ONE 13(11): e0207629.

88. Ekroll, V., De Bruyckere, E., Vanwezemael, L., & Wagemans, J. (2018). Never Repeat the Same Trick Twice—Unless it is Cognitively Impenetrable. i-Perception9, 2041669518816711.