Manifestation (popular psychology)

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Manifestation (or manifesting) refers to various pseudoscientific self-help strategies that can purportedly make an individual's wishes come true by mentally visualizing them.[1][2] Manifestation techniques are based on the law of attraction of New Thought spirituality.[3] While the process involves positive thinking, or even directing requests to "the universe",[4] it also involves actions on the part of the individual.[5]

Manifesting has been criticised as having no basis in physical science. Alison Bernstein, a professor of translational neuroscience at Michigan State University said in an interview with Vice that "You can’t magically make things happen. You can [however] change the way you react to certain situations, which sounds to me like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy". She went on to assert that "manifestation is not supported by science".[6]


The practice was popularized by the film The Secret (2006) and a book of the same name by Rhonda Byrne. It has been popularized on social media since the 2010s.[3] It is promoted by Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Gabrielle Bernstein, and Iyanla Vanzant, among others.[4]


  1. ^ Weingus, Leigh. "Can You Really Attract the Things You Want via Manifestation? Here's What to Know About the Technique People Are Obsessing Over". Parade: Entertainment, Recipes, Health, Life, Holidays. Retrieved 2022-09-23.
  2. ^ Jennings, Rebecca (2020-10-23). "Manifesting is the new astrology". Vox. Retrieved 2022-09-23.
  3. ^ a b Brogley, Gianna (24 October 2020). "The psychology behind manifestation". The Campanile. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b Zapata, Kimberly (22 December 2020). "How to Manifest Anything You Want or Desire". The Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  5. ^ Fournier, Denise (27 December 2018). "Manifestation: The Real Deal". Psychology Today. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  6. ^ Truesdale, Rose. "The Manifestation Business Moves Past Positive Thinking and Into Science". Retrieved 5 May 2021.