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Magic and Wellbeing

Magicians learn to accomplish the impossible and they share these moments of wonder with their audiences.  Magic has qualities that go beyond entertainment, and it offers valuable tools to enhance wellbeing in a wide domain of areas. Steve Bagienski has been exploring different magic wellbeing interventions and we have run several projects that investigate how preforming magic can enhance people’s psychological wellbeing.  We have conducted extensive reviews of the various ways in which magic has been used to enhance wellbeing and we provide a progressive hierarchy that organises current research and programs, which will help future research.  In collaboration with Abracademy we have evaluated and implemented a magic wellbeing intervention for our undergraduate students, and school children, and demonstrate how learning to performing magic can enhance students’ self-esteem and belonging.  We have implemented an intervention in which student learn to perform a simple magic trick, and demonstrate how this exercise can enhance people’s self-efficacy, and their beliefs about overcoming future challenges.  


We have developed fake brain stimulation devices which rely on magic illusionism techniques that emulate the experience of influencing people’s thoughts.  Such bogus brain stimulation devices proved a valuable placebo tool to influence thought processes, and we are exploring ways in which such devices can be used to enhance people’s mental wellbeing (e.g. self-control, creativity) 

Learn more about this research 

Learning to perform magic tricks can help students feel more confident and connected with each other, research from Goldsmiths, University of London has shown.

Watch SoMA podium discussion about magic and well-being. here 

  • Bagienski, S., Goddard, L. & Kuhn, G. (in press). Mastering the Impossible: Piloting an easier-than-expected magic intervention that acts as a source of self-efficacy. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice.

  • Bagienski, S., Oliver, B., & Kuhn, G. (in press). The magical means of building closeness and community during the college transition: A novel arts-based positive intervention. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice. 

  • Bagienski, S. and Kuhn, G. (2020). Beyond the Crossroads of magic, health, and wellbeing. World Health Organization, Public Health Panorama, 6(1), pp. 155-171.

  • Bagienski, S., & Kuhn, G. (2019). The crossroads of magic and Wellbeing:  A review of wellbeing-focused magic programs, empirical studies, and conceivable theories. International Journal of Wellbeing, 9(2), 41-65. doi:

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