Can magic tricks unlock children’s creative thinking?

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New findings from researchers at the University of Hertfordshire show that learning to perform magic tricks makes children more creative.

Posted in PeerJ, the study was led by a psychologist and member of the Inner Magic Circle, Professor Richard Wiseman.

During the experiment, a group of children aged 10 to 11 carried out a creativity test which consisted in proposing multiple uses for an everyday object. They then learned to perform a simple trick, in which they showed someone a cube with sides of different colors, asked the person to secretly choose a color, and then magically revealed their person’s choice. They then completed the creativity test a second time. Compared to another group of children who participated in an art lesson, learning the trick significantly improved children’s creativity scores.

Magic tricks often involve lateral thinking, and the research team suspects that learning to perform them encourages children to think outside the box.

Professor Wiseman noted: “There is a widely recognized need to improve creative thinking from an early age. Learning magic tricks would be a cost-effective, practical and fun way for teachers and parents to stimulate children’s creativity. .Maybe in the future, magic will become part of the school curriculum!”

The benefits of creative subjects in education have been widely recognized, but this is the first study to experimentally explore the impact of learning magic on creativity. The researchers hope that future work will begin to identify the types of tricks that are particularly beneficial.

The peer-reviewed work was carried out by Professor Wiseman, Amy Wiles and Professor Caroline Watt (University of Edinburgh), and published in the academic journal PeerJ.

Psychologists suggest using magic tricks to learn more about how animal minds work

More information:
Richard Wiseman et al. Evoking Creativity: The Effect of Performing Magic Tricks on Divergent Thinking, PeerJ (2021). DOI: 10.7717/peerj.11289
Journal information:

Provided by the University of Hertfordshire

Quote: Evoke Creativity: Can Magic Tricks Unlock Children’s Creative Thinking? (2021, April 21) retrieved January 24, 2022 from

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Brian L. Hartfield