Magical Thinking: Development and Applications

How magic and science complement each other in the modern life
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 (254 ratings)
10,915 students
Magical Thinking: Development and Applications
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 (254 ratings)
10,915 students
Understand what magical thinking is, how it develops in children, how it functions in adults, and how it can be used in various domains of learning and communication


  • No special skills are required, but some knowledge of psychology at an introductory level might be useful

The course introduces you into a new developing area of human psychology – magical thinking, to which I gave over 30 years of my research. I will explain what magical thinking is, how it develops in children and functions in adults. I will then proceed with showing how magical thinking can be used in order to improve cognitive processes (such as creative thinking, perception and memory), and how powerful individuals and institutions can employ magical thinking for mind control with the aim of extracting political or economical gains. I will finish the course with examining how cultural and emotional factors affect magical thinking.

The course consists of four sections, which comprise an introductory lecture and 12 lectures. The lectures include author's text, author's videos, videos showing children experimenting with magical objects, graphs and pictures. Each lecture is accompanied with references to relevant author's publications.

The course targets a wide range of learners: students in social sciences, artists, writers, specialists on psychological factors in communication, politics, economics, education and everyone interested in learning more about hidden domains of the human mind.

Who this course is for:
  • This course is meant for students in social sciences, artists, magicians, writers, parents and everyone interested in learning about how the mind works
Course content
4 sections • 13 lectures • 2h 7m total length
  • Introductory lecture
  • Magical reality
  • Magical thinking in the child
  • Magical thinking in adults
  • Magical thinking and creativity in children
  • Magical thinking and perception
  • Magical thinking and memory
  • Magical thinking and communication
  • Magical thinking and imagination
  • Magical thinking and exploratory behavior
  • Lecture 10. Magical thinking and culture
  • Lecture 11. Cognitive defense against magical intervention
  • Lecture 12. Emotional defence against magical intervention

PhD in Developmental Psychology
Eugene Subbotsky
  • 4.0 Instructor Rating
  • 669 Reviews
  • 21,561 Students
  • 10 Courses

Eugene Subbotsky obtained a PhD in Developmental Psychology at Moscow State University. He taught at Moscow State University, Russia (1975-1990), Lancaster University, UK (1991-2013) and was an Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellow at Konstanz University, West Germany (1990-1991). He is known internationally for research on children's moral development, the development of children's metaphysical reasoning, and the development of magical thinking and behaviour over life span. He conducted research in Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, USA and Mexico. He published over 100 papers in scientific journals and is the author of 12 books, including those published by Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press, and Psychology Press. Eugene is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a BPS charted psychologist, a Member of the BPS Division of Teachers and Researchers in Psychology.