Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition

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Oxford University Press, 2000 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 272 pages
3 Reviews
'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'Employing scientific techniques and utilizing hard facts, Vyse shows how silly superstition really is.... This is a highly informative book, dealing with everything from chain letters to lucky charms to the lottery system.' -Amazon'Vyse presents plenty of uncomfortable truths about the way most of us think, and plumbs a vast literary repetoire ranging from Chaucer and Melville through Leon Festinger (the author of the theory of cognitive dissonance)to get us into his corner.' -Voice Literary Supplement'An engaging introduction to psychology focused on a topic, superstition, of inherent interest to us all.' -Valerie M. Chase, The Boston Book Review

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Review: Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition

User Review  - Curtis Harris - Goodreads

This is it. It is way better than Why People Believe Weird Things. Anyone remotely interested in critical thinking should read this. Read full review

Review: Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition

User Review  - Greg - Goodreads

To an extent, these books can merge into one, there is only so much information to cover, even if different books will cover different aspects. This one, though slim was pretty information dense ... Read full review


Believing in Magic
The Superstitious Person
Superstition and Coincidence
Superstitious Thinking
Growing Up Superstitious
Is Superstition Abnormal Irrational or Neither?
A Magical View of the World

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About the author (2000)

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

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