Talk:Magical thinking

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Badly in need of framing[edit]

The fact that one of the major sources cited on the page is titled "How Natives Think"--all of them, all the time, and certainly unlike us!--ought to raise more than an eyebrow or two. One imagines the English gentleman, on safari, ruminating on the character of the intelligence of the savage (or the ape, for that matter), imagining himself therefore to be deeply engaged in the application of Divine Reason--dispeller of magical thinking, he.

The "Westerner" finds magical thinking among all the world's various flavors of "savage" just as the "white" person always finds characteristics distinguishing himself from the various "colored" peoples: he has, from the outset, defined the terms of his engagement with the topic. The conclusion follows automatically. The person who believes he or she is "white" must, in order to uphold this belief, identify distinguishing characteristics of the other "races." He or she never questions what function, exactly, it serves him or her to believe he or she is "white." Likewise the Westerner will uncritically use his "reason" (standing in for any and all contemporary erudite cultural practices he accepts, give or take some erudite humility) to examine the savage's speech and behavior; he will never subject the actual human practice of "reason" to the same scrutiny. What is the scientist doing, personally, with his "reason"? What is the linguist doing, personally, when he pursues relativist theories of cognition? The answer, in both cases, is that he is justifying his preconceived idea of himself and the authority of the group to which he pledges allegiance, and from which he draws his methods.

I think this article would be improved if a historical context is provided for these sources. Even the history of science (and any other field invoking "reason") is littered with self-justifying figures and institutions, because history is always, finally, about human beings. Better yet, I think this article would be improved if it is restructured to make clear that "magical thinking" is a term used by various individuals and groups, historically as well as currently, in diverse contexts. The fact that the scope of "madness" is now shrunk to psychiatric and psychological confines does not mean the reader should not be aware that a much broader context--all savage peoples--was once deemed appropriate. -2601:241:8401:DAED:F9D4:50BC:27B3:A669 (talk) 14:48, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't think it means what you think it means[edit]

I've been taught and have been teaching that magical thinking means a kind of reversed logic, that is, I need it therefore it is available. It's taken some odd cases where users become convinced that an action or some odd combination of switches results in the intended behavior. It's most common with undefined behavior, that is setting a paradoxical set of switches that we failed to block, but sometimes it appears where they've got some strange belief to our eyes as to what something is. In practice, this manner of thinking is reinforcing for a long time because for awhile these things will be things thought of and built before. But sometimes they just aren't and they get stuck with the dissonance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:CCCF:9039:56A0:50FF:FE57:101D (talk) 02:27, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

Removed a See Also[edit]

I've removed Quantum Psychology from the See Also list. Rather than discussing magical thinking as a phenomenon, it simply seems to promote general pseudoscience, and it doesn't really belong here. 84.93.81.252 (talk) 17:30, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

Definition[edit]

The article mentiones the "attribution of synchronicity between events that cannot be justified by observation or reason" as a sufficient criterion for the establishment of that thought process as "magical thinking". I do not think this definition is quite correct; the attribution of synchronicity to events is always justified by observation and attributing synchronicity is in itself a very ordinary thought process. Assigning causation to synchronicity is symptomatic of psychopathology, but even that does not fall under the definition of magical thinking according to any modern broadly-accepted interpretation, neither is the definition given in this article supported by the work cited as reference to that passage; the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology lists "magical thinking" as "Thinking that one's thoughts on their own can bring about effects in the world, or that thinking something amounts to doing it.", which tallies with the definition given in many other medical dictionaries. I will not discount the possibility of a divergent definition in anthropology or ethnology, but that should be separately given and, most importantly, sourced. --Halemyu (talk) 21:57, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

Or no, let me revise that assessment. I think the general problem with this article is that the author(s) (perhaps there was an original author who was the incipient of putting this spin on it) have taken a term of definite, well-sourced meaning in psychology, and have begun conflating the article on it with matter concering the thought patterns underlying practices recognized as "magic" - which, though perhaps justified from a semantic consideration (i.e. the underlying thought patterns are perhaps really the same, or closely related, and many researchers in the field do acknowledge that) and terminologically not entirely without precedent, is much harder to source in any scientic publication.
--Halemyu (talk) 23:44, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

Piaget[edit]

" "egocentric," believing that what they feel and experience is the same as everyone else's feelings and experiences." - I am not disputing that he stated this, but believing in universality of experience is in a sense the opposite of ego-centric, it is rather being unaware that ego is an ego (That I am a me). When we use "egocentric" about adults we mean persons who are aware that other people have distinct inner lives, but who dismiss these others as unimportant or irrelevant. By contrast "believing that what they feel and experience is the same as everyone else's feelings and experiences." is quite a different thing.137.205.101.81 (talk) 08:59, 30 March 2018 (UTC)