Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage

By Gustav Kuhn and Alice Pailhes
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Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage

49.95 usd

Book or download by Gustav Kuhn and Alice Pailhes (Book $49.95 or download for $37.46)

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Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage - magic
Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage

Instantly improve your magic performances with the first-ever book offering concrete scientific evidence for becoming the best magician possible.

“Wonderful scientific insights into the psychology of magic. An essential read for any serious magician!” Derren Brown

Operating out of the world’s only dedicated “Magic Lab”, renowned researchers Gustav Kuhn and Alice Phailès spent nearly half a decade conducting groundbreaking research on how to make our magic better. They’ve compiled all of their revolutionary findings in this incredible, more than 300-page hardcover book: The Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage.

While other books have been written about the intersection of psychology and magic, none have been constructed as a practical guide for magicians. This one-of-a-kind text explores the psychological components of magic, offering scientific insights to better understand how our audiences experience a magic trick.

There’s no guesswork here. Instead, they’ve analyzed real-life examples to uncover the viable techniques needed to perform stronger magic.

We must emphasize that The Psychology of Magic is a practical guidebook, not a boring textbook. It doesn’t just list the evidence, but rather shows you how to use this information to start improving your magic immediately.

What makes The Psychology of Magic truly special is how Alice and Gustav present their findings. Each chapter is totally engrossing and fascinating. Although the findings are academic-based, it is not a science book. You don’t need a PhD to read it. Gustav and Alice write in a clear, concise, and easy-to-read style that has one, singular goal: to improve the magic you are already doing.

Some of the many innovative concepts you’ll learn include:

  • Exploiting psychology to improve forcing
  • Taking advantage of your audience’s blindspots
  • Understanding how visual illusions fool the brain
  • Elevating the impact of all your magic

Of course, as you’ve come to expect from us here at Vanishing Inc., the book itself is a thing of beauty. It’s a joy to read and will beam proudly on your shelf when you’re done.

Any magician looking to become the best possible version of themselves, and discover what it takes to make an unforgettable impression on every audience must grab a copy of The Psychology of Magic: From Lab to Stage by Gustav Kuhn and Alice Phailès.

It’s time to make your magic better…with science.

“A comprehensive, insightful, and excellent account of the complex relationship between psychology and magic. Perfect for any magician who is curious about magic and the mind.” Richard Wiseman

“In magic, psychology is as important as sleight-of-hand and presentation. If creatively combined by an inspired performer, the result will be artistic magic. In their remarkable book, Kuhn and Pailhès base their insights on years of field study, and offer a different and novel angle of looking at the complex ways the mind creates the false reality necessary to experience” Roberto Giobbi

Contents of Psychology of Magic

  • Introduction
  • The Science of Magic Endeavour
  • Magic Theory: Definitions and Taxonomies
  • Blind Spots and How to Exploit Them
  • Visual Illusions
  • Memory Illusions
  • A Path of Least Resistance: Decision Forces
  • Illusions of Control: Outcome Forces
  • Framing Magic
  • Why Do We Enjoy Magic?
  • Conclusion
  • References

312 Pages | Hardcover

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Customer reviews for Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage



What makes this book different from other books on the neuroscience of magic is the focus on how they did the research, not just the conclusions they reached. While I appreciate that not everyone is as interested in that part, I found it fascinating.



I was very interested in reading a book that purported  to look deeply into the psychology  of magic and how both the magician and the audience conceived and reacted to a variety and presentation of tricks and illusions. A few of the well known and very much historic tricks that we all have had  great knowledge of the taught and accepted methods of were shown in a different light and may not be, in my humble opinion, necessarily performed in such a rigid way.I learned far more than expected and understood that things are not always as expected from either performer or spectator.It is often the fact that some of us skim and possibly never read a complete book, I am often very guilty of doing that, but this is one very much worth reading from cover to cover. In fact it is written in such a way that if you don't do that you may possibly miss out and not absorb the finer detail or the full point and presentation.I would certainly agree with some of the comments in the reviews of others but I very much accept that it made me think about methods of presenting my magic and can honestly say that it was to a greater degree worth the investment!



A fascinating read! It really helps explain a lot of things that you see, and more importantly by understanding those things you can incorporate them into other tricks and presentations more purposefully to get the reactions you want. While it seems like an academic topic, the authors have explained things clearly and thoroughly. I just wish I could have taken a psych class that did a little of this when I was in school!!



This is such a terrific complement to the earlier book by Kuhn. I read that one when first released a few years ago, and it is definitely targeted to lay public. It is fun and changed my thinking. This one is for magicians, and as a scientific physician-researcher I very much appreciate the approach used here, how references are cited, and even the instructions to non-scientists how to read the book, take notes, and take advantage of the references mentioned in the text and at end. Highly recommend, it totally changes my perspective on performing and how I think about the audience. I look forward to updates to this book as Kuhn others keep doing their research and adding to this evolving fun body of new knowledge. Also check out Kuhn's site SOMA (science of magic association) for more news on research and magic.



I inhaled it. I read it cover to cover in no time; not just read it but analyzed and studied it. Excellent dissection of the "why's" of an effect. Brilliant and easy to follow categorization of topics.



Knowing how magic works is, no doubt, an important component to performing magical effects to surprise and delight an audience. However, knowing why magic works is just as important if you want to amaze and astound your audience and take your performance to a higher level.

This book teaches the whys and proves it with scientific research and methodology specific to magic performances. A lot of this book reads like a college textbook, but those really serious in understanding they whys quickly, need to read and learn from this book. I've been to many a lectures by respected Magicians who relate their hard earned experience learned from first-hand experience. This book will give you a leg up on that learning curve.

Highly recommended.



This is a very interesting book, especially for its reports on the experiments the authors conducted. Other books on psychology and magic outline the principles, but without quantitative data and with less specific examples. Very nice insights on how and why things work, for example the findings on the use of the cross-cut force.

I do recommend the book. However, I did not find the closing sections attempting to show magicians how to use the principles to improve their magic to be especially concrete and helpful.



I'm sure it would have been an interesting read if it weren't so painful to read. Some of the graphics require a magnifying glass. It's as if some of the diagrams were adjusted to fit into vertical pages, when they would have been legible if placed in a horizontal position. The font is truly impossible to read in some places. Disappointing for a 50 book.



This is a book written by scientists so the language and sentence structure are quite complex. I question if the conclusions they present offer much of an advantage. I believe the writings by Giobbi, Tamariz, Ascanio, and Ortiz offer more benefit to the performer aspiring to performance excellence. I am frustrated that they briefly mention techniques from many resources no longer available. The writers prove they know the secret, but we are left in the dark when referencing out of print material. A major failing for me is the lack of an index because I know I read about a particular detail, but I spent an half hour finding this detail again since it was not in the logical chapter.



I was very enthused to get this book, but that has worn off as I have read it. I'm a magic theory addict and a big fan of the work of Peter Lamont and Richard Wiseman. Their book "Magic in Theory" and the "Psychologically-Based Taxonomy of Misdirection" provides a fascinating framework from which to study misdirection and the conjuring sciences. "Psychology of Magic: From Lab to Stage" is a worthwhile read; however, while it doesn't need to be practical for my taste, for $50, it needs to be a lot more practical for the magic community to probably appreciate. It should be priced more like a popular book. But that is just one magic theory geek's opinion.


Community questions about Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage

Have a question about this product? It's possible others do too. Ask here and other Vanishing Inc. Magic customers will be able to respond with assistance! Alternatively, email us and we can help too.

  • Abraham asks: How does this differ from Gustav Kuhn's earlier book (which is superb, by the way).

    • 1. Gustav answers: My earlier book, Experiencing the Impossible, was written for the general public and uses magic as a way of exploring the human mind. The new book was written specifically for magicians. We wrote this book to hand something back to the magic community, and we explain how psychology and neuroscience can help you improve your magic. Think of it as a course, or guide, in the psychology that is relevant to magicians. I studied psychology over a quarter of a century ago, so that I could become a better magician. However, none of the psychology that I was taught at University seemed particularly relevant to magic. Since then, more than 100 scientific papers have been written about magic, and we now have a much better understanding how why magic works. This book will help you understand why magic works, and will help you understand much of the research on magic and psychology. The book will also help you use psychology to improve your magic, and you will hopefully also gain a deeper understanding of magic itself. If you liked my pervious book, you will love this one. Sorry for the ramble, but hope this is helpful.
    • 2. Gregory answers: I have the first book and I am not sure I would have ordered this new one if it were not made clear that this on is for magicians. Thank you.
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  • Michael asks: Is the book soft cover or hard cover?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: They’ve compiled all of their revolutionary findings in this incredible, more than 300-page hardcover book: The Psychology of Magic: From Lab To Stage.
  • Louis asks: Are the samples involved in the experiments both significant and representative? How do you translate experiments that must be lab-fitted (i.e: reproducible) into learnings applicable to performance? It feels too good to be true that comprehensive research has been done on the subject when many psychology papers and books fail in this regard (looking at you sample of 13 psychology undergrads). I am incredibly interested in this book but I've been bitten before...

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: You can look at their research and findings and start to implement it into your work. For example, you can see their results on the most commonly named playing cards and apply that to your card work. Mainly, you are given a ton of studies to think about and it will be up to you to apply what is helpful. The book is also a fantastic look into how lay people see magic.
  • Sean asks: Does the title imply stage magic?

    • 1. Kyle answers: No. It's just a decent tagline for the book. The book focuses on using science to improve your magic overall. It can improv your magic on stage, closeup etc. It can teach you better ways to think about your magic to really increase the impact/power of your material over all.
    • 2. Sean answers: Thank you! Appreciate the feedback.
    Post an answer to this question
  • Kyle asks: As a person with ADHD. Reading can be nearly impossible. (This is not a lack of discipline, trying, etc. It's legitimately a real and common issue). My question is, will there be an audio version/addition to this book?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: There is no audio or video available and no plans to do so I'm afraid.
  • Lawry asks: Just today, I received my copy of the book. I am also a research scientist; I am sure you know our reading load. I am old and get a lot of eyestrain, so I generally seek electronic versions to blow up the text. Any hope of that happening?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: I'm afraid there are no plans for an electronic version of this book at the moment.
  • Stephen asks: Interested in getting this as its an area of magic that interests me but concerned that two individuals seem to think it's difficult to read what size is the font ?

    • 1. Jim answers: I don't know the precise font size—sorry. Although it is a smaller size, it is fully legible to my eyes.
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