Via Boingboing — Who’s Minding the Mind?

The New York Times published an account of recent studies about psychological priming.  We learned about this back in college, as I recall — if you’re primed to exhibit a certain behavior, you’re more likely to do so.  Not exactly rocket science, I guess.  Still, this paragraph is interesting:

Using subtle cues for self-improvement is something like trying to tickle yourself, Dr. Bargh said: priming doesn’t work if you’re aware of it. Manipulating others, while possible, is dicey. “We know that as soon as people feel they’re being manipulated, they do the opposite; it backfires,” he said.

Yeah.  Well, maybe that’s all magic is — a way to tickle ourselves.  Still, no . . . I’ve seen magic have effects that can’t be explained by mere psychological tricks.  Even if it were all psychological, though, it’d still be darned valuable.   After all, if we prime ourselves to notice opportunities for jobs by doing a spell to get a job — the result is the same.


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