Personal profile

Research interests

I am interested in several areas of applied social psychology, including the psychology of self-help, luck, deception, magic, humour and paranormal belief.


I started my working life as a professional magician, and was one of the youngest members of The Magic Circle.  I then obtained a degree in psychology from University College London and a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. I currently hold Britain’s only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology.  

I have published over 100 academic papers examining the psychology of magic, illusion, deception, luck and self-development.  This work has been cited in over 20 introductory textbooks. In addition, I have written several popular psychology books (including The Luck Factor and 59 Seconds) and created YouTube videos that have attracted over 600 million views.

I am one of the most followed psychologists on Twitter, a Member of the Inner Magic Circle, and an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association.  I have worked on psychology-related projects with various magicians, including Penn and Teller, David Copperfield and Derren Brown.

Teaching specialisms

The psychology of performance, magic and public engagement.

Commercial and public engagement

I have written several books for the general public and these have been translated into over 30 languages.  I have also presented keynote addresses at several organisations, including Microsoft, The Royal Society, Caltech, and Google.

I have created viral videos that have received over 600 million views, over 2 million people have taken part in my mass participation experiments and I have acted as a creative consultant to Derren Brown, The MythBusters, CBS’s The Mentalist, and Heston Blumenthal, Nick Cave, and the West End play ‘Ghost Stories’.

I was recently listed in the Independent On Sunday’s top 100 people who make Britain a better place to live.


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