Monday, September 14, 2020

Hating magic was marked by lower Openness to Experience, lower awe-proneness, & lower creative self-concepts; & higher socially aversive traits (lower Agreeableness, higher psychopathy, & lower faith in humanity)

Silvia, Paul, Gil Greengross, Maciej Karwowski, Rebekah Rodriguez, and Sara J. Crasson. 2020. “Who Hates Magic? Exploring the Loathing of Legerdemain.” PsyArXiv. September 14. doi:10.31234/

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: Magic is an ancient, universal, diverse, and wide-ranging domain of artistic performance. Despite its worldwide popularity, however, any working magician will tell you that some people really hate magic. They seem to see every illusion as a challenge to be solved and every performance as an insult to their intelligence. A distinctive feature of magic is that it seeks to create wonder and amazement through deception—practitioners create the illusion of the impossible, which can provoke intense curiosity, but will not explain the method—so we speculate that disliking magic could stem from (1) low propensity for curiosity, awe, and wonder, and (2) high needs for social status and dominance, which make a person averse to being fooled and manipulated. The present research explored people’s attitudes toward magic with our Loathing of Legerdemain (LOL) scale. In a multinational sample of 1295 adults, we found support for these two broad classes of predictors. People who hated magic were marked by (1) lower Openness to Experience, lower awe-proneness, and lower creative self-concepts; and (2) higher socially aversive traits, such as lower Agreeableness, higher psychopathy, and lower faith in humanity. We suggest that magic is an interesting case for researchers interested in audience and visitor studies and that the psychology of art would benefit from a richer understanding of negative attitudes more generally.

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