The Wonder of Magic: Eliciting Wonder and Analyzing its Expression

Raphael, S. "The Wonder of Magic: Eliciting Wonder and Analyzing its Expression"


The wonder that occurs while watching a good magic trick or admiring a gorgeous natural vista is a strong emotion that has not been well studied. Educators, media producers, entertainers, scientists and magicians could all benefit from a more robust understanding of wonder. This exploration proposes a theoretical model for this understanding. Additionally, an experiment was conducted to investigate how several variables affect how magic tricks are enjoyed. The experiment showed 70 subjects 10 videos of magic while recording their responses and reactions to the tricks. Some individuals were shown the explanations to the magic tricks to gauge their impact on enjoyment. The style of the presentation was varied between two groups to compare the effect of magic presented as a story to magic presented as a puzzle. It was discovered that presentation style has an effect on magic enthusiasts' enjoyment and that a storied presentation is associated with individuals being more generous towards a charity. Contrary to magician's beliefs, the explanations had the effect of making people more likely to want more magic later. Other general statistics about magic spectators are also quantified.

Related Content