Details on article

Id 190
Author Wiseman, R.; Watt, C.
Title Achieving the impossible: a review of magic-based interventions and their effects on wellbeing

Wiseman R, Watt C. (2018). Achieving the impossible: a review of magic-based interventions and their effects on wellbeing. PeerJ, 6, e6081. doi: 10.7717/peerj.6081.

Keywords psychology; occupational therapy; magic tricks; health; intervention: performing arts
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Abstract Research has demonstrated that involvement with mainstream performing arts, such as music and dance, can boost wellbeing. This article extends this work by reviewing little-known research on whether learning magic tricks can have an equally beneficial effect. We first present an historic overview of several magic-based interventions created by magicians, psychologists and occupational therapists. We then identify the potential benefits of such interventions, and review studies that have attempted to systematically assess these interventions. The studies have mostly revealed beneficial outcomes, but much of the work is of poor methodological quality (involving small numbers of participants and no control group), and has tended to focus on clinical populations. Finally, we present guidelines for future research in the area, emphasizing the need for more systematic and better-controlled studies.

Metodology Literature review searching the terms "magic therapy" and "magical therapy" into databases (including Google Scholar, Ovid Medline, Scopus and ‘Ask Alexander’ from the Conjuring Arts Research Centre), contacting existing knowledge, authors and personal contacts and snowball

Findings The literature suggests that learning to perform magic ticks can help promote both physical and psychological wellbeing. the key benefits that might flow from a magic-based intervention, including a boost in self-esteem, an increased feeling of mastery, and gains in motor skills. Some of the work supporting these benefits is anecdotal in nature, and involves either clinicians’ and educators’ first-hand experience or their descriptions of case-studies.This work has reported highly positive findings, suggesting that a magic-based initiative can help boost the children’s motor skills and range of movement. Similar work examining the potential psychological benefits of magic-based interventions has assessed a range of factors, including general life-satisfaction, self-esteem and behavioural problems. A relatively small amount of work has adopted a more systematic approach to evaluation of the benefits of magic-based interventions. Future research could adopt a more theoretical approach and explore why these interventions might be beneficial.
Open Access YES
DOI 10.7717/peerj.6081
Search Database Snowballing
Technique Literature review
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