Research has found that magicians have a lower likelihood of experiencing mental disorders compared to other artists.
Individuals with a creative inclination, such as musicians, painters, and writers, are often perceived as being troubled and challenging. However, a recent study has uncovered that a certain group within the artistic community may have mastered the art of maintaining a healthy equilibrium.
A research conducted by Aberystwyth University’s psychology department on magicians worldwide reveals that these performers may have a lower risk of mental health problems compared to other creative individuals and the general public.
The study, released on Wednesday in the BJPsych Open journal, evaluated the psychopathic characteristics of nearly 200 magicians and compared them to findings from other creative groups and the overall population.
The study found that magicians had a lower score compared to other types of creative individuals and those who are considered “normal”. Even though their profession involves creating illusions and exploring mysteries, magicians were less likely to have uncommon experiences like hallucinations or cognitive disorganization.
According to Gil Greengross, the leader of the study, their findings revealed that individuals in a creative group have lower levels of psychotic traits compared to the overall population.
According to him, our study indicates that magicians do not display elevated rates of mental disorders. The findings suggest that the link between creativity and psychopathology is more intricate than previously believed.
According to Greengross, magicians tend to have low levels of “impulsive nonconformity”, a characteristic that is linked to behaviors that are not socially accepted and a lack of self-control. This trait is highly beneficial for creative individuals like writers, poets, and comedians who often incorporate unconventional and provocative ideas into their work. Magicians also possess this trait and are known for pushing boundaries and being innovative. However, some magicians stick to traditional tricks or slightly modify them without feeling the urge to come up with new and original ideas.
The magicians were recruited with help from groups including the Magic Circle in the UK, the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. The participants were aged from late teenagers to 90.
Sara Crasson, a magician from New York who contributed to the research, explained that there are potential explanations as to why magicians tend to have a sense of balance. She noted that when magicians gather, they often share their personal stories of how they got into the art. It is common for male magicians, in particular, to turn to magic between the ages of eight and 14 as a way to overcome social challenges. For example, they may use a cool trick to impress a bully and avoid being bullied.
According to her, magic serves as a means of obtaining recognition and attention from others. It can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle with social skills, as it boosts confidence and can aid in overcoming personal challenges. In her opinion, magic is a valuable tool.
The research indicates that magicians have similar mental health traits as mathematicians and scientists. Crasson emphasized the significance of precision in magic. “There is a great deal of attention to detail in the execution of a trick. When you watch a skilled magician perform, every movement and word has purpose and thought behind it.”
Crasson performs with a lovable bear named Bamberg in her show, but she emphasized the importance of human teamwork in magic. She expressed her passion for this aspect of their craft, explaining that although they are technically rivals, they are also close friends. She also mentioned that she is willing to seek advice and share ideas with other performers in the magic community.
My grandfather was a dentist and my father, who was also a magician, used to say that other dentists refused to share their technique for bonding teeth. However, I have approached performers and asked them to teach me some of their skills, and they have been more than willing to share and give their blessing. This kind of support is incredibly impactful.