Belief and its formation


Humans are undeniably prone to believe in causalities that are not founded in common scientific standards. Many of us believe for instance in god(s), supernatural powers, and engage in rituals and superstitious behaviors. Many of us are happy to spend money on unproven health procedures, because the respective person believes in their efficacy. Such beliefs associate with particular personality characteristics and cognitive biases. Unfortunately, studies in adults are largely correlational, avoiding any notions on causality being made (personality / cognitive biases leading to beliefs or vice versa). We are not only interested in relationships between belief-related personality traits and cognitive biases, but also in these relationships` causality. To this end, we are investigating in which way and to what extent exposure to magic tricks interacts with belief-related personality traits and cognitive biases.

Some recent publications:

  • Mohr C, Lesaffre L, Kuhn G (2019). Magical potential: Why magic performances should be used to explore the psychological factors contributing to human belief formation. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 53, 126-137
  • Lan Y, Mohr C, Hu X, Kuhn G (2018) Fake science: The impact of pseudo-psychological demonstrations on people’s beliefs in psychological principles. PLoS ONE 13(11): e0207629. pone.0207629
  • Lesaffre L, Kuhn G, Abu-Akel A, Rochat D, Mohr C (2018). Magic performances – When explained in psychic terms by university students. Frontiers in Psychology 9:2129. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02129


CARLA collaborators:
Elise Dan-Glauser
Lise Lesaffre
Christine Mohr


External collaborators:
Gustav Kuhn
Kim Uittenhove
Trix Cacchione
Amory Danek