Conjuring up creativity: The effect of performing magic tricks on divergent thinking

Richard Wiseman, Amy Wiles, Caroline Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Research suggests that learning to perform magic tricks can promote both physical and psychological wellbeing. The current study extended this work by examining the impact of learning magic tricks on divergent thinking. A group of 10- to 11-year-old children completed Guilford’s Alternate Uses Test both before and after participating in either a magic-based, or art-based, activity. As predicted, compared to the art-based activity, the magic-based activity resulted in a significantly greater increase in both AUT Fluency and AUT Originality scores. Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale and Dweck’s Implicit Theories of Intelligence Scale for Children was also completed after each activity, and participants’ self-esteem scores were higher after the art-based activity than the magic-based activity. In an exploratory aspect of the study, the AUT was re-administered to both groups three weeks later, and yielded no significant differences. The practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed, along with recommendations for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11289
Number of pages14
JournalPeerJ
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Children
  • Conjuring
  • Creativity
  • Divergent thinking
  • Magic
  • Psychology
  • Self-esteem

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