top of page

Using the Psychology of Magic

Dr. Alice Pailhès is a psychological scientist, author, speaker, and scientific consultant specialized in the psychology of magic. She is driven by her desire to give people a sense of wonder about how their mind works, and how they can understand it to use it in the best way.

Using rigorous psychological and scientific research, she helps:

  • Organizations and companies learn about our mind oddities

  • Professional magicians and mentalists create stronger illusions

Dr Pailhès is available for talks, artistic, organizational and scientific collaborations.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram


Dr Pailhès has pioneered the scientific research on magicians' mind control tricks, called forcing techniques. Her studies focus on investigating magic tricks to study psychological principles such as illusory sense of agency and freedom over choice, decision-making processes, memory malleability, or placebo effects.

Her research has been published in high-impact journals (e.g., PNAS, JEP: General or TiCS) and has gained visibility through diverse media and public talks (e.g., TED, The Financial Times, BBC and BBC the One Show, the Wellcome Collection...).

She's the author of The Psychology of Magic, a co-written with Dr. Gustav Kuhn, gathering scientific insights about magic to make it useful and accessible to the magic community.

She is also a committee member of SoMA - the Science of Magic Association - an interdisciplinary organization that promotes rigorous research directed toward understanding the nature, function and underlying mechanisms of magic.

Dr Pailhès is a regular keynote speaker on the topic of the psychology of magic, decision-making, illusory freedom over choice and the quirks of our mind.

TED talk: What magic tricks can reveal about free will

TED talk: What magic tricks can reveal about free will


bottom of page