magical thinking

From the Vault: The Forer Effect

From palm-reading fortune tellers to professionally-administered Myers Briggs test, everyone’s a sucker for a an ego-stroking personality assessment. In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the subtle forces of the Forer effect. (Originally published July 23, 2015)

Chinese Zodiac: Superstition, Economics & Destiny

As we celebrate Chinese New Year and enter the year of the fire monkey, join Robert and Joe for a Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration of the Chinese zodiac and some interesting studies related to its impact on birth rates, economics and individual destiny. As always, you can take astrology with a grain of salt, but the impact on human behavior and culture is undeniable.

Something for Everybody: The Forer Effect

From palm-reading fortune tellers to professionally-administered Myers Briggs test, everyone's a sucker for a an ego-stroking personality assessment. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the subtle forces of the Forer effect.

The Science of Coincidence

What are we to make of coincidence? From the numerological cats cradles we weave around famous events to the curious ways human lives converge through time, coincidence seems to fly in the face of reason and even suggest the supernatural. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the synchronicity, statistics and psychology of coincidence.

Satanic Panic

What are we to make of alleged ritual satanic abuse and the moral panic that spread in the 1980s and 90s? Christian Sager joins Robert for an exploration of religion, fear and demons of the mind.

Grimoire: Occult Books and the Magic of Writing

We're all familiar with such fictional grimoires as "The Necronomicon," but what about the rich legacy of occult books and cryptic tomes that preceded its invention? Robert and guest host Christian Sager investigate and maybe summon a demon or two.

Objects of Love

We live in a world of objects to which we assign varying degrees of worth, from old newspapers to treasured action figures, family heirlooms and golden idols. What's it all about? Where does this object attachment come from? Tune in to learn more in this classic episode.

The Illusion of Continuity

The Illusion of Continuity: What is perceptual constancy and how does the illusion of continuity pull a fast one over our brains? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind as Robert and Julie discuss the science behind Dancing Spider-Man, the whole Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz thing and the roots of magical thinking. About the Image: Man doing back flip on a trampoline by Eadweard Muybridge, 1881, in his Attitudes of Animals in Motion P&P Case © CORBIS

Blow Your Mind: What's in a Witches Brew?

Gather round the cauldron with us as we ladle out hefty servings of magical thinking, medieval psychedelics, feminist history and the power of ritual. Just what was old-school witchery all about? This episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind has the answers. For instances, why do so many images (such as the featured 1400 woodcut) depict witches flying around on brooms? Could it be that free-thinking ladies of the 13th century liked to coat the shaft with empathogenic ointments and grind their naked bodies against it? Quite possibly, as we'll discuss in detail.