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Publications of Subbotsky Eugene
Psychology and Psychotechnics, 2020-1
Chesnokova O.B., Subbotsky E., Martirosova Y.V. - Play-based test for assessing the level of social intelligence among preschoolers and elementary schoolers pp. 90-106

DOI:
10.7256/2454-0722.2020.1.32251

Abstract:  The need in social intelligence emerges when there is clash of interests and a work-around solution is required for successful interaction. Obstacles towards achieving the goal motivates a person to look for unconventional solutions to a communication problem. Matrix of a new social intelligence test among preschoolers and elementary schoolers is proposed. The advantage of this test over the traditionally used picture-based surveys is that it does not require a developed symbolic function. As a prototype of the simulated communication situation, the author used a situation of uncertainty in achieving the goal, clash of interests of the characters, and more than one scenario of finding a work-around solution for reaching a desirable result. These requirements were met by the attempt to rob the armored truck by a criminal who was able to eavesdrop on the conversation between the driver and the dispatcher to determine which of the simultaneously traveling trucks carried the money. The driver had to report to the dispatcher in a way that would be understood by the dispatcher, but not the criminal. Unlike the earlier methods of assessment of social intelligence, the proposed play-based is built upon realistic simulation that can be understood by children aged 6-12. This simulation allows for careful assessment of social intelligence of children involved into a captivating game of finding optimal behavioral strategy in a situation where they have to communication with a partner, while encrypting the information for other people, but without outright lying. 
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2020-1
Chesnokova O.B., Subbotsky E., Martirosova Y.V. - PTSI: Testing children's social intelligence through play pp. 36-49

DOI:
10.25136/1339-3057.2020.1.32281

Abstract:  This article presents the play-based test on social intelligence (PTSI) in preschool and elementary school children. The advantage of this method over traditionally employed methods is that it does not rely on the mature symbolic function. Preschool and elementary school children find it difficult to adequately react to questionnaires that require interpretation of pictures. In contrast, PTSI employs a simple play situation, easily accessible to 6-12 years old children. This situation allows a sensitive assessment of degrees of social intelligence in children while engaging them individually in an exciting play. The situation requires the participant to find the best strategy for solving a problem, report information to a partner, while making this information inaccessible to strangers and avoiding direct deception at the same time. Complemented by an external assessment of social intelligence, this test can be a useful diagnostic tool for determining strengths and weaknesses in children’s resolution of interpersonal problematic situations, including conflict of interests. 
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2018-1
Subbotsky E. - Art as the window into the supernatural pp. 21-35

DOI:
10.25136/1339-3057.2018.1.20774

Abstract: This article analyzes the artworks by the founder of “metaphysical realism”, Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico, and the Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte in the context of paleoanthropological studies of the origin of art and psychological studies on magical thinking. These studies suggest that art originated from the belief of early humans in that next to the ordinary earthly world there exists a magical supernatural world, in which dwell the souls of the dead people and animals. In order to visualize and represent this magical world, humans created special objects – drawings, sculpture, architecture, and abstract signs and symbols. In the course of history, the belief in the magical world was replaced by official monotheistic religions, and in many modern individuals – by the belief in science. The sense of the magical was transformed into the sense of the aesthetical, and the means of visualizing the supernatural in the form of rock paintings and figurines carved from bone and stone – into modern art. Yet recent studies on magical thinking have shown that in modern urban inhabitants the belief in magic did not cease to exist, but descended into the subconscious. Although our conscious mind denies the existence of magic, our subconscious mind still believes in that beyond the known world lies the invisible world of the supernatural. It is the laws of magic, and not laws of science that rule this invisible world. De Chirico’s and Magritte’s paintings are the “wormholes” that give modern rational people access to their hidden belief in the world of the supernatural, the existence of which is denied by the modern science.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2017-4
Subbotsky E. - Miracles in Law: Magical Underpinning of Physical Universe pp. 22-40

DOI:
10.25136/1339-3057.2017.4.20949

Abstract: The paper analyses a psychological phenomenon, which indicates that certain structures of magical thinking, such as “participation” and “mind over matter”, leaked into the concepts of modern physics and cosmology. Recent psychological experiments have shown that modern rational adults subconsciously believe in the supernatural. At the same time, philosophical and psychological studies have found that there exists a deeply rooted link between magical and scientific types of thinking. Magical thinking operates at the level of the subconscious through symbolic images, where it generates draft “theories in the making”; scientific thinking filters these draft theories and selects those, which are in concord with “objective reality”. Criteria used for this selection are empirical verification via experiments and compliance of a theory with the general context of available knowledge. As physical science stepped over from the observable world into the micro- and mega-worlds, empirical verification of certain theoretical ideas through experiments became impossible. There remaining criterion - compliance with the general context of knowledge - is a lot “softer”, than empirical verification. This “softening” of the borderline between magical and scientific thinking resulted in that a subconscious belief of modern people in the supernatural filtered through into the very “heart” of physics – its theories about the origin and structure of the universe.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2017-3
Subbotsky E. - The pull of eternity: hope for Immortality as a belief in supernatural pp. 41-61

DOI:
10.25136/1339-3057.2017.3.21222

Abstract: This article examines the psychological phenomenon of the hope for immortality of an individual consciousness (soul) of a person and humanity in the context of the most recent experimental research of magical thinking. The universe exists million times longer than humanity, thus it irrelevant to make any forecasts with regards to the fate of humanity, Earth, and universe outside the boundaries of several millennia. Then why do the renowned scholars or even research organizations examine the questions that seemingly do not carry practical sense, such as the future of Earth and universe thousands and billons years from now, study of objects that exists in hundreds of millions light years from our galaxy, fate of humanity over the cosmic time intervals of million years? Possible answer lies in the contemporary research of magical thinking and psychology. These studies demonstrated that the belief in supernatural is common not only to children and superstitious people, but also the majority of educated adults who consider themselves as non-believers in magic or god. This implicit belief feeds our hope for immortality of a person’s mind. The scientific novelty consists in the following: (1) For the first time the phenomenon of hope for immortality of human soul is discussed in the context of recent experimental studies on magical  thinking; (2) the forms, in which the hope for immortality is endued in science, quasi-scientific literature and philosophy, are being analyzed; (3) the article is first to examine the problems of human individual consciousness in the context of recent memory theories. The author concludes that despite the incommensurability of time scales of existence of the universe and humanity, the extensive financial resources are spent on the research of problems associated with the origin of the universe, future of Earth and humanity in millions and billions years from now, and objects that are situated on the edge of the observable universe. Psychological studies of recent decades demonstrated a modern educated individual, while consciously denying faith in magic or in god, subconsciously maintains the belief in supernatural. The data from particle physics and cosmology supports an ancient hypothesis of the unbreakable link between the universe and human consciousness, but does not guarantee the immortality of consciousness. Despite the lack of reliable evidence, the subconscious faith of a modern individual does exist, as well as originates the phenomenon of hope for immortality of consciousness of human and humanity.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2017-2
Subbotsky E. - Games with the Supernatural: Magical Reality in the Everyday Life pp. 38-55

DOI:
10.25136/1339-3057.2017.2.22892

Abstract: The paper discusses the following issues: What is magical reality? What domains of modern life does magical reality penetrate? Why is magical reality important for many people today? What psychological consequences does the engagement with magical reality entail? In ancient times and in the Middle Ages people’s access to magical reality was controlled by religion or practices alternative to religion – witchcraft, astrology and alchemy. In the time of Renaissance art and literature joined forces with religion. In the XIX and XX centuries new ways of contacting magical reality emerged – cinema, the spiritualist movement and parapsychology. Finally, in the end of the XX and in the beginning of the XXI centuries there appeared interactive computer games and the internet. Psychological studies have shown that in modern people the belief in magical reality didn’t vanish, but descended into subconscious. This hidden belief permeates many domains of modern life – economics, politics, medicine, morality, education, entertainment and theories of modern physics and astronomy. Why do children become addicted to computer games? Why do rational people, when faced with choices in economics, often follow the laws of magic rather than common logic? How does it come about that educated people follow political ideas which contradict the people’s own interests? Why does the placebo effect exist? Where do suicidal terrorists take their courage to commit actions of self-destruction? How is it possible that some people go for moral choices and sacrifice their private interests even when there is no surveillance? Why do some scientists call the work of the brain magical? How was it possible that the whole universe once filled the volume smaller than a grain of sand? Answers to these and other questions are hidden in the subconscious belief of modern people in the supernatural. The rapid advance of interactive electronic devices makes the imaginary world of the supernatural more accessible, and the effect of this magical world on a variety of domains of the modern life grows.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2017-1
Subbotsky E. - Consciousness as a Look into the Supernatural pp. 55-74

DOI:
10.7256/1339-3057.2017.1.21374

Abstract: The hypothesis is analysed according to which consciousness is the ability to simultaneously live in two types of reality: perceived everyday reality and invisible magical reality. At some point around 100 thousands years ago, humans became aware of the inevitability of personal death and developed the idea of afterlife – the reality in which spirits of dead ancestors dwell. They also discovered that the spirits have unusual properties: they are invisible, immortal, can read people’s minds and feed on smoke from burning sacrificed animals. Due to these discoveries humans became able to look at their everyday world from another perspective and were surprised that their world was designed very differently from the world of ancestral spirits. That was the moment when consciousness as we know it was born: the ability to view the everyday reality “out of the box”, from the perspective of gods. This ability of reflection gave rise to new forms of behaviour: Executively controlled action and moral behaviour. Around 30 thousand years ago people developed the way to tangibly represent the invisible world of spirits through signs and symbols, such as cave paintings or figurines made from stone and bone. At the same time, or shortly afterwards, people started using symbolic means for utilitarian purposes, for example, for memorising the number of killed animals or manufactured items of clothes. Eventually, symbolic reality gives birth to written language and mathematics. But the emergence of consciousness, along with achievements, also created psychological problems. The main of these problems was keeping everyday and magical realities apart. In order to make this possible, humans developed a new psychological mechanism: the “effort of realities distinguishing” (ERD).” It took millennia for the ERD to achieve the level of perfection it has in modern humans. Like the heartbeat, the ERD in modern humans is automatized and subconscious. Disturbances of the RDE reveal themselves in such forms as hallucinations or religious radicalism. Recent psychological studies showed that the early humans’ belief in the supernatural lives on in the subconscious of modern rational people.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2016-4
Subbotsky E. - Religion and belief in the supernatural pp. 24-43

DOI:
10.7256/1339-3057.2016.4.21498

Abstract: This article examines the following questions: why do people believe in God if there is no proof; is it possible to live without faith; where is the correlation between religious faith, belief in science, and belief in magic in the consciousness of modern people. The conclusion is made that the belief in the supernatural world occurs as a result of emergence of the cognitive abilities in primeval human (such as powerful imagination) and deep grieving over the death of a congener. The souls of the ancestors, who populated the mystical world, became the first gods. Religion has gradually separated from magic, but retained its connection to magic trough belief in the supernatural. The psychological experiments of the recent decades demonstrated that despite the joint efforts of the official religion and science to uproot the belief in magic from modern Western society, the belief in the supernatural remained on the subconscious level. Presence of phenomena that cannot be explained by science confirms that belief in the supernatural is not strictly atavistic remnants of the human psychology of past historical eras, but has certain empirical foundation. The scientific novelty of this research consists in the following: religious belief is examined in the context of modern experimental research of magic though for the first time; a new claim is made on the agreement between science and official religion in the fight against magic. Among the main conclusions are the following: religion historically and psychologically emanates from earlier human belief in magic; having separated from magic, religion begins to view magic as an adversary in the struggle from human conscience; religion becomes antagonistic towards magic and views it as manifestation of dark forces.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2016-3
Subbotsky E. - The Barrier for Robots. Subjective Experience as a Magical Phenomenon pp. 44-63

DOI:
10.7256/1339-3057.2016.3.21104

Abstract: The paper discusses problems that arise regarding the relationships between the brain and subjective experience. Can robots create in humans a full-scale illusion of subjective experience? Can a person tell the difference between simulated consciousness and authentic subjective experience? What is better: to enjoy life in the world of illusions, or to live the life of hardships in the world of true reality? The analysis has shown that even if the computer technologies in the future became incommensurably more powerful than the technologies of today, we can’t expect that people with the help of computers, not to mention computers in their own right, would be able to create an authentic copy of human subjective experiences. The reason is that subjective experience is a magical phenomenon. This phenomenon is not determined by physical causes, cannot be logically deduced from more general premises, and therefore, cannot be simulated on a full-scale. The altered states of consciousness such as hallucinations or virtual reality are imitations and not authentic subjective experiences. A person immersed in these altered states of the mind is aware, during the altered states of shortly after, that they are nothing but illusions. Neuroscience and cybernetics will be creating increasingly complex interfaces between machines and subjective reality of consciousness, but the gap between simulations of mental processes and authentic subjective experience will never be bridged.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2016-1
Subbotsky E. - Vygotsky-Luria approach towards “Conscious Action” and current research on “Executive Function” pp. 48-74

DOI:
10.7256/1339-3057.2016.1.17387

Abstract: In this work the author compares the research of conscious action in the context of the Vygotsky and Luria theory, and modern research on executive function. With few exceptions the modern research in the West conceptualizes the notion of “executive function” independently from its original meaning established by Vygotsky and Luria, and in an ever increasing manner is being viewed as a function, or directly governed by neuronal processes taking place in the brain, or as a complex, “context-free” cognitive construct. But such approach towards willful behavior is contradicted by empirically established facts: high dependency of the level of willfulness of behavior experienced from the content of instruction and from culture in which the research is conducted. The scientific novelty of this research is substantiated by the fact that this work is first to compare the approach of Vygotsky and Luria on conscious action with the modern concept of executive action based on experimental research and practical work with children.
Psychologist, 2015-6
Subbotsky E. - I Believe Because This is Absurd: The Magic of Religion pp. 76-115

DOI:
10.7256/2409-8701.2015.6.14239

Abstract: In this paper I discuss the following issues: Why do people believe in god when there is no proof of god’s existence? Can one live without believing in anything? How does a traditional belief in god coexist with the belief in magic? The analysis brings one to the conclusion that the belief in the supernatural world appears in early man as a result of the convergence of two factors. The first was the emergence of new cognitive abilities, such as the ability to view all nature as alive and ascribe some kind of consciousness to inanimate things (animistic thinking). The second was the awareness of the inevitability of death, and frustration resulting from this awareness. Spirits of the ancestors, which populated the invisible world of dead, became the first gods. Gradually, the “mainstream” religion separated itself from everyday magic, yet it maintained the link with magic through the belief in the supernatural beings and miracles. Novelty: (1) For the first time, religion is analysed in the context of recent psychological studies of magical thinking; (2) The analysis of the alliance between mainstream religion and science against magic is also a novel element. Conclusions: (1) Historically and psychologically, religion is derivative from early magical beliefs; (2) When mainstream religion separates itself from magic, it starts to view magic as a rival in the struggle for human minds; (3) As a result, religion becomes hostile towards magic and views magic as a manifestation of dark forces; (4) Science ousted the belief in magic into the subconscious, while putting pressure on the mainstream religious belief at the same time. Nevertheless, there still exist a number of supernatural phenomena that remain unexplained by science; (5) There is a possibility that in the future contradictions between science, magic and religion will be smoothing out. As a result, certain supernatural phenomena, which at present are a subject for hot debates, will become part of the mainstream worldview and, quite possibly, will be used for controlling some spiritual and physical processes.
SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2015-4
Subbotsky E. - Impossible Phenomena as Mediators in Cognitive Functioning and Education pp. 156-173

DOI:
10.7256/1339-3057.2015.4.17369

Abstract: The manuscript assesses the role of impossible phenomena (entities and events) as psychological tools for enhancing cognitive functioning. In three studies, participants were exposed to films containing either impossible or contrasting possible phenomena, and then tested on creativity, the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality, and the ability to memorize commercial brands placed within films. In all of the studies, participants (British 4-, 6- and 8-year-old children, adolescents and adults) showed a significantly better improvement in the aforementioned abilities after watching the film with impossible phenomena than after watching the film with contrasting possible phenomena. For the first time the images of impossible (fantasy) phenomena is being viewed as the means to affect cognitive abilities (thoughts, perception, and memory) for the purpose of optimizing cognitive functionality. The results are discussed in terms of possible applications of impossible phenomena in a classroom.
Psychologist, 2015-3
Subbotsky E. - The invisible reality: Consciousness in the mirror of magical thinking pp. 33-67

DOI:
10.7256/2409-8701.2015.3.14198

Abstract: The paper assesses the hypothesis according to which the human mind is the ability to simultaneously live in two types of reality: perceived everyday reality and invisible magical reality. At some point around 100 thousands years ago, humans develop the idea that there exist another world, in which spirits of dead ancestors dwell. They also discover that ancestors’ spirits have unusual properties: they can be invisible; they never die, can read people’s minds and feed on the vapours from burning sacrificed animals. Having made these discoveries, humans had a new look at their own everyday world and were surprised that this world is designed very differently from the world of ancestral spirits. That was the “moment” when human consciousness as we know it was born: the ability to view the everyday reality as if “from the outside.” This ability of “reflective thinking” gave rise to new forms of behaviour: voluntary behaviour and creative thinking. Creative thinking helps to produce new and more powerful tools for hunting, labour and communication. Sometime around 30 thousands years ago creative thinking helps to invent a new way of communicating with gods and spirits – communication, which was mediated by signs and symbols, such as cave paintings or bone sculptures. At the same time, or shortly afterwards, people started using symbolic means for purely utilitarian purposes, for example, for memorising the number of killed animals or manufactured clothes items. Subsequently, symbolic reality gives birth to written language and mathematics.But the emergence of consciousness, along with many achievements, brought about psychological problems. The main of these problems was to keep the everyday and the alternative magical realities apart. In order to make this possible, there appeared in humans a specific new psychological mechanism: the “realities distinguishing effort (RDE).” It took millennia for the RDE to achieve the level of perfection it has in modern humans. Like the work of the heart, the lungs and other organs, the RDE in modern humans is automatized and unconscious.Novelty: (1) For the first time the phenomenon of consciousness is interpreted as derivative from the belief in magical reality; (2) Distinguishing the RDE psychological mechanism is a new feature as well. Conclusions: (1) consciousness emerged as the human ability to simultaneously dwell in two distinct types of reality: the perceived everyday reality and the invisible magical reality; (2) consciousness gives rise to the new psychological abilities: voluntary behaviour and creative thinking; (3) creative thinking helps to invent new means of communicating with gods – symbols and signs, which subsequently turn into written language and mathematics; (4) the necessity to maintain the borderline between everyday and magical realities brings to life a new psychological mechanism: the “realities distinguishing effort” (RDE); (5) in the course of human history, the RDE becomes unconscious and automatized; (6) disturbance of the RDE in modern humans manifests itself in such forms as hallucinations (i.e., in schizophrenia patients) or religious radicalism; (7) recent psychological studies discovered that traces of the early humans’ belief in supernatural magical reality persist in the minds of modern rational individuals.
Psychologist, 2015-2
Subbotsky E. - The impossibility of the matrix: The magic of subjective reality pp. 1-30

DOI:
10.7256/2409-8701.2015.2.14193

Abstract: The paper discusses the problems that arise regarding the relationships between the brain and subjective experience. Can robots create in humans the illusion of subjective experiences? Is it really so that a person who is immersed in the world of artificially created subjective experience is unable to exit this world without assistance? What is better: enjoying life in the world of illusions, or struggling for life and happiness in the harsh world of true reality? The analysis has shown that even if the computer technologies of the future became dozens of times more powerful than modern technologies, we can’t expect that people with the help of computers, not to mention computers in their own right, would be able to create the authentic copy of subjective experiences. The reason is that subjective experience is a magical phenomenon. This phenomenon is given to a person, but it is not determined by physical causes. The versions of artificially created subjective experiences, such as hallucinations cased by illness or mental experiences caused by stimulation of brain cortex with electric charges or chemical compounds, are imitations of subjective experiences and not authentic subjective experience. During the altered states of consciousness, of shortly after, the person is sensing that these imitations are nothing more than illusions of reality. Novelty: For the first time the phenomenon of human subjectivity is being analyzed in the context of recent studies of magical thinking. Conclusions: (1) subjective experience is a magical, and not a physical phenomenon; (2) modern views on the structure of brain processes, computer and other cognitive models are derived from human subjective experiences; they can imitate subjective experiences (such as thinking, perception and feelings), but they are not identical with subjective experiences in their own right; (3) neuroscience and cybernetics will be creating increasingly more perfect interfaces between machines and subjective reality of consciousness, but there will always remain an insurmountable gap between physical processes and authentic subjective experience.
Psychologist, 2014-4
Subbotsky E. - Excurstion to the World Behind the Looking-Glass: Magic Thinking in the Modern World pp. 30-73

DOI:
10.7256/2306-0425.2014.4.12322

Abstract: In article questions are considered: What is the magic reality? This reality gets into what spheres of life of the modern person? In what the reason of penetration of magic reality into life of the modern person? To what consequences can lead such penetration? In the ancient time and the Middle Ages access to magic reality was provided by religion or alternative religions of practice: witchcraft, sorcery, astrology, alchemy. During the Renaissance era art joined them. In the XIX century there was a movement of a spiritualizm, in XX – parapsychology. At last at the end of XX - the beginning of the XXI century there are portable interactive forms of visual representation of magic reality – computer games and the Internet, and a wide circulation of individual electronic displays (laptops, ah-pedov, of iPhones, etc.) brought the interactive world of a world behind the looking-glass into a family and a nursery. Psychological researches showed that the belief in the magic world at the modern person didn't disappear, and left deep into the unconscious. This hidden belief sprouts to all spheres of modern life: economy, policy, medicine, morals, entertainments, education, even in physics and science about a brain. Why children "sit down" on games in which they possess magic force? Why rational people often make economically unprofitable decisions? How it turns out, what the educated people can accept opinion of politicians which contradicts its radical interests? Why in medicine the effect of placebo works? From where at terrorists, both during war, and during the world, such fanatical determination and strength of mind? How it is possible, what even in the absence of supervision, in themselves, some people choose good, but not angrily, acting contrary to own benefit? Why physiologists call work of a brain as "magic"? The answer to these and other questions – in extramental belief of the modern person in supernatural. Novelty: (1) For the first time some phenomena in the sphere of children's game, policy, economy, medicine, morals, and science about a brain are considered in the context of the last psychological researches of magic thinking; (2) Also consideration of historical evolution of access for the person to magic reality, and also consequences of contact with this reality for the individual and society is new. Conclusions: (1) The magic thinking during which known laws of physics can be broken, of biology and psychology, widely practices in the modern world in the form of entertainments, games, and other kinds of activity based on imagination; (2) Both children, and educated adults, consciously or unconsciously, trust in possibility of the supernatural; (3) This hidden belief generates specific effects in different spheres of life: to policy, economy, medicine, the moral sphere, the sphere of entertainments, even in the sphere of science; (4) The wide circulation of interactive electronic displays facilitates access for the modern person to the imagined world of the supernatural; (5) As a result the probability of influence of the hidden belief in supernatural on behavior of the person increases.
Man and Culture, 2014-3
Subbotsky E. - René Magritte's Magic Crystal pp. 86-124

DOI:
10.7256/2306-1618.2014.3.12113

Abstract: In article the analysis of works of the Belgian artist surrealist René Magritte from the point of view of researches of an origin of art in a paleoanthropology and magic thinking in psychology is given. These researches show that at sources of art the belief of the ancient person that near the usual, terrestrial world there is a magic, supernatural world in which souls of people and animals live lies. For communication with this supernatural world of people creates special means – drawings, a sculpture, architecture, abstract signs and symbols. During long historical process, the belief in the magic world gives way to official religion, and at many modern people – belief in science. The feeling of the magic turns into feeling esthetic, and means of communication with the supernatural – into the modern art. However researches of magic thinking in psychology showed that the modern city inhabitant has a belief in the magic didn't disappear, and left on the level of the unconscious. Though our consciousness can deny the fact existence supernatural, our unconscious "believes" that outside the familiar world of science the world of the supernatural is covered. In this invisible world not laws of the nature, but laws of magic work. Magritte's cloths force the modern person to feel existence in it of residual belief in existence of the supernatural world denied by modern science. Novelty: For the first time Magritte's painting is considered in the context of modern pilot studies of magic thinking in psychology. Also the communication of works of Magritte with rock painting of a late paleolith analyzed in article is new.Conclusions: (1) Magritte's cloths are quintessence of the historical memory of art which is taking away us on tens tysyacheleniye in the past to art of a late paleolith. These cloths are turned to subconscious belief of the modern person in the supernatural; (2) The belief hidden deeply in unconscious in supernatural, resounding with Magritte's cloths, generates in the modern viewer of feeling of a riddle and alarm, and also feeling "already seen", forcing it to recognize emotionally the belief in existence of supernatural reality denied by rational thinking.
Psychologist, 2014-3
Subbotsky E. - Planetarium of Miracles: Magic On a Visit to Metaphysics pp. 175-220

DOI:
10.7256/2306-0425.2014.3.12286

Abstract: In article the psychological phenomenon of penetration of structures of magic thinking, such as "partitsipation" and "a direct embodiment of thought in life", in the concept of modern physics and cosmology is considered. Psychological researches show that modern educated adults, at the level of subconsciousness, continue to trust in supernatural, and between magic and scientific thinking there is a deep communication. The magic thinking which is carrying out in unconscious in the form of symbols, is the generator of "creative combinations", and the scientific, conscious thinking selects from these combinations what correspond to objective reality. Criteria of such selection are experiment and a vpisyvayemost of combinations in the general context of available knowledge. In process of withdrawal from a macrocosm in micro and the megaworlds, criterion of empirical check which carried out earlier function of selection of the "correct" combinations from "creative garbage", disappears. There is only a criterion "to a vpisyvayemost in the general context of knowledge", and this criterion is much softer, than criterion of experimental check. As a result of such "softening" of borders between magic and scientific thinking, the unconscious belief in the supernatural gets into theories of modern physics. Novelty: (1) For the first time some concepts of modern physics and cosmology are considered in a context of the last researches of magic thinking in psychology; (2) The analysis of a psychological community between magic and scientific thinking which, under certain conditions, leads to penetration of designs of magic thinking into scientific theories is new also. Conclusions: (1) Some latest theories of physics of elementary particles and cosmology include concepts (for example, "dependence of the nature of elementary structures of a matter on nature of supervision", "confusion" or "the anthropic principle") which are related to concepts of magic thinking (such as "a direct embodiment of thought in reality" and "partitsipation"); (2) Between magic and scientific thinking there is a fundamental relationship. The magic thinking which is carrying out in symbols, delivers a stream of creative combinations of ideas, and scientific, carrying out in concepts, selects from this stream of combinations what realities correspond. Criteria of such selection are experiment and a vpisyvayemost of "a combination of ideas" in the general context of available knowledge; (3) At invasion of modern physics in the field of reality in which experiment is impossible (such as "the theory of all" or "a Universe origin"), selection of "acceptable" combinations from a stream of the ideas delivered by magic thinking, becomes less strict; (4) Thanks to this facilitated access to official science, the belief of the modern person in supernatural, hitherto stored in hiding places unconscious, gets into physical theories about the origin and structure of the Universe.
Psychologist, 2014-2
Subbotsky E. - Learning From Harry Potter pp. 52-93

DOI:
10.7256/2306-0425.2014.2.12159

Abstract: In article the role of magic thinking in mental development of the child is analyzed. Questions are considered: Whether children believe in magic or only play it? Whether interest in magic is so strong, as well as interest in the new physical phenomena? Whether it is possible to use magic thinking for acquisition by children of useful cognitive skills, or it is suitable only for entertainment? Researches showed that children of preschool and early school age really believe in reality of the magic. Preschool children and younger school students show much stronger interest in research of magic events, than in research of the new physical phenomena. Experiments confirmed the assumption that display of movies with impossible events and beings stimulates some informative functions of children (such as visual comparison and creative thinking) in much bigger degree, than display of the movie with equally interesting, but possible events and beings. At last, it was shown that inclusion of trade brands in a context of the impossible promotes the subsequent recognition of brands in much bigger degree, than inclusion of similar brands a context of equally interesting possible events. Prospects of use of magic thinking in school practice are discussed. Novelty: (1) The role of children's magic thinking in acquisition by children of knowledge and useful cognitive skills is for the first time considered; (2) The analysis of a problem about a ratio of children's magic thinking and training in scientific subjects is new; (3) The idea about creation of "alternative textbooks" – textbooks on physics, biology, psychology and other disciplines in which known laws of the nature wouldn't be observed is put forward, and were broken. Conclusions: (1) Involvement of children in magic thinking stimulates some informative functions of children (such as visual comparison and creative thinking) in much bigger degree, than display of the movie with equally interesting, but possible events and beings (effect "advantages impossible over possible"; (2) The effect reason "advantages impossible over possible" that the thinking about the possible involves only a narrow circle of mental functions (perception and short-term memory). On the contrary, the thinking about the impossible involves all palette of such functions (perception, memory, thinking, imagination and emotions) that provides stronger activation at the child of some useful skills; (3) Magic thinking of the child - not "false understanding of reality" and not a hindrance to scientific thinking, and the new, yet not mastered by psychology material for optimization of mental development and training.
Psychologist, 2013-10
Subbotsky E. - Russia in the Bewitched Dream pp. 40-83

DOI:
10.7256/2306-0425.2013.10.1135

Abstract: In article the concept of the social and psychological mechanism "submission based on belief in supernatural" (POVS), in relation to mentality of three ethnic groups is entered and analyzed: Russia, Mexico and Great Britain. As the main object of the analysis the social and psychological change in development of the Russian society, occurred during an era of reorganization of the beginning of the 1990th years is chosen. The hypothesis according to which rather peace and painless character of this change which has caused cardinal demographic, social and economic problems, is explained by the centralized impact of power structures on the POVS mechanism of the Russian society is made. Strengthening of subconscious belief in supernatural in the mass of the Russian population which, in turn, prepared the population for peace acceptance of the social and economic reforms contradicting interests of the majority of the people (in particular, to alienation of public property and assignment of this property by power structures) was result of such influence. Pilot studies of the author are the basis for the analysis and his colleagues, carried out in Russia and abroad for the last 30 years, and published in the central Russian and foreign scientific magazines. Novelty: The POVS psychological mechanism is allocated and analyzed for the first time. Use of this mechanism to the comparative analysis of ethnic mentalities of Mexico, Russia and Great Britain is new also. Different options of impact on the POVS mechanism are for the first time analyzed, able to lead to release of the population of Russia from excessive influence of subconscious belief in supernatural and, as a result of such release, to strengthening of social creativity of people, independence in decision-making, and feelings of a personal responsibility for the events in the country.Conclusions: (1) POVS mechanism change in Russia towards reduction of its influence by mentality can be only result of set of efforts at all levels, including overcoming of broad widespread fear before magic and magic thinking; (2) the knowledge of existence of subconscious belief in supernatural, about POVS structure, about possibility of manipulation with a tendency to POVS is necessary for understanding of important psychological aspect of transformations occurring in Russia.
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