Dr Gustav Kuhn

Dr Gustav Kuhn

Associate Professor in Psychology

School of Psychology (Faculty of Health)



1996 – 1999  BSc in Psychology – Sussex University

2000 – 2003  DPhil in Psychology – Sussex University

2004 – 2005  Visiting fellow, Queens University

2005 – 2006  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Durham University

2006 – 2009  Wolfson Research Fellow

2009 – 2011  Lecturer, Brunel University

2011 – 2023  Senior Lecturer/Reader, Goldsmiths, University of London

2023 -       Associate Professor, University of Plymouth, 2023

Professional membership



Teaching interests

PSYC604 - The Misdirected Mind 



Research interests

The MAGIC lab applies an interdisciplinary approach to studying human behaviour and cognition. Our efforts include, but are not limited to using magic to study a wide range of psychological questions, around consciousness, attention, perception, magical beliefs, deception, free will… We strongly encourage an interdisciplinary approach that allows us to bridge the gap between the real world knowledge acquired by magicians and the sciences (Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science…). We use a wide range of experimental methodologies, such as behavioural and neurophysiology measure, eye tracking, and natural observation to study behaviour and cognition in laboratory and real-world settings. 

Visit MAGIC_lab for more information



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Kuhn G, Pailhès A, Jay J & Lukian M (2023) 'Experiencing the improbable: How does the objective probability of a magic trick occurring influence a spectator’s experience?' Decision , DOI Open access
Bagienski SE & Kuhn G (2023) 'A balanced view of impossible aesthetics: An empirical investigation of how impossibility relates to our enjoyment of magic tricks' i-Perception 14, (1) 204166952211425-204166952211425 , DOI
Kuhn G, Ortega J, Simmons K, Thomas C & Mohr C (2022) 'Experiencing misinformation: The effect of pre-exposure warnings and debunking on psychic beliefs' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 76, (6) 1445-1456 , DOI
Bagienski SE, Kuhn G, Goddard L & de Almeida e Souza Brodtkorb S (2022) 'Mastering the impossible: Piloting an easier-than-expected magic intervention that acts as a source of self-efficacy' Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice 9, (3) 243-256 , DOI
Bagienski SE, Kuhn G & Oliver BR (2022) 'Supporting the psychological health of our students: An arts-based community magic workshop for adapting to university life' Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice 9, (3) 285-303 , DOI
Pailhès A, Lee K & Kuhn G (2022) 'Too perfect to be good? An investigation of magicians’ Too Perfect Theory' PeerJ 10, , DOI Open access
Kuhn G, Kingori P & Peeters Grietens K (2022) 'Misdirection – Magic, Psychology and its Application' Science & Technology Studies 35, (2) 13-29 , DOI
Peeters Grietens K, Kingori P, Friesen P, Gerrets R, Douglas-Jones R & Kuhn G (2022) 'Misdirection in Global Health' Science & Technology Studies 35, (2) 2-12 , DOI
Ortega J, Montañes P, Barnhart A & Kuhn G (2021) 'Differential Effects of Experience and Information Cues on Metacognitive Judgments About Others’ Change Detection Abilities' i-Perception 12, (4) 204166952110392-204166952110392 , DOI
Pailhès A & Kuhn G (2021) 'Mind Control Tricks: Magicians’ Forcing and Free Will' Trends in Cognitive Sciences 25, (5) 338-341 , DOI
Pailhès A & Kuhn G (2021) 'Reply to Cole: Magic and deception—do magicians mislead science?' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, (3) , DOI
Pailhès A, Kumari S & Kuhn G (2020) 'The magician’s choice: Providing illusory choice and sense of agency with the equivoque forcing technique' Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 150, (7) 1358-1372 , DOI
Pailhès A, Rensink RA & Kuhn G (2020) 'A psychologically based taxonomy of Magicians’ forcing Techniques: How magicians influence our choices, and how to use this to study psychological mechanisms' Consciousness and Cognition 86, 103038-103038 , DOI
Lesaffre L, Kuhn G, Jopp DS, Mantzouranis G, Diouf CN, Rochat D & Mohr C (2020) 'Talking to the Dead in the Classroom: How a Supposedly Psychic Event Impacts Beliefs and Feelings' Psychological Reports 124, (6) 2427-2452 , DOI
Cutting J, Cairns P & Kuhn G (2020) 'Nothing else matters: Video games create sustained attentional selection away from task-irrelevant features' Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 82, (8) 3907-3919 , DOI
Pailhès A & Kuhn G (2020) 'Influencing choices with conversational primes: How a magic trick unconsciously influences card choices' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, (30) 17675-17679 , DOI
Pailhès A & Kuhn G (2020) 'The apparent action causation: Using a magician forcing technique to investigate our illusory sense of agency over the outcome of our choices' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 73, (11) 1784-1795 , DOI
Pailhès A & Kuhn G (2020) 'Subtly encouraging more deliberate decisions: using a forcing technique and population stereotype to investigate free will' Psychological Research 85, (4) 1380-1390 , DOI Open access
Kuhn G, Pailhès A & Lan Y (2020) 'Forcing you to experience wonder: Unconsciously biasing people’s choice through strategic physical positioning' Consciousness and Cognition 80, 102902-102902 , DOI
Spence C, Youssef J & Kuhn G (2020) 'Magic on the Menu: Where Are All the Magical Food and Beverage Experiences?' Foods 9, (3) 257-257 , DOI
Gygax P, Thomas C, Didierjean A & Kuhn G (2019) 'Are Women Perceived as Worse Magicians Than Men? Gender Bias When Evaluating Magic Tricks' Social Psychological Bulletin 14, (3) , DOI
Bagienski S & Kuhn G (2019) 'The crossroads of magic and wellbeing: A review of wellbeing-focused magic programs, empirical studies, and conceivable theories' International Journal of Wellbeing 9, (2) 41-65 , DOI
Kuhn G (2019) 'Experiencing the Impossible' , DOI
Mansour H & Kuhn G (2019) 'Studying “natural” eye movements in an “unnatural” social environment: The influence of social activity, framing, and sub-clinical traits on gaze aversion' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 72, (8) 1913-1925 , DOI
Lan Y, Mohr C, Hu X & Kuhn G (2018) 'Fake science: The impact of pseudo-psychological demonstrations on people’s beliefs in psychological principles' PLOS ONE 13, (11) e0207629-e0207629 , DOI
Lesaffre L, Kuhn G, Abu-Akel A, Rochat D & Mohr C (2018) 'Magic Performances – When Explained in Psychic Terms by University Students' Frontiers in Psychology 9, , DOI
Scott H, Batten JP & Kuhn G (2018) 'Why are you looking at me? It’s because I’m talking, but mostly because I’m staring or not doing much' Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 81, (1) 109-118 , DOI
Mohr C, Lesaffre L & Kuhn G (2018) 'Magical Potential: Why Magic Performances Should be Used to Explore the Psychological Factors Contributing to Human Belief Formation' Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science 53, (1) 126-137 , DOI
Ortega J, Montañes P, Barnhart A & Kuhn G (2018) 'Exploiting failures in metacognition through magic: Visual awareness as a source of visual metacognition bias' Consciousness and Cognition 65, 152-168 , DOI
Kuhn G, Vacaityte I, D'Souza ADC, Millett AC & Cole GG (2018) 'Mental states modulate gaze following, but not automatically' Cognition 180, 1-9 , DOI
Thomas C, Didierjean A & Kuhn G (2018) 'The Flushtration Count Illusion: Attribute substitution tricks our interpretation of a simple visual event sequence' British Journal of Psychology 109, (4) 850-861 , DOI
Thomas C, Didierjean A & Kuhn G (2018) 'It is magic! How impossible solutions prevent the discovery of obvious ones?' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 71, (12) 2481-2487 , DOI
Freebody S & Kuhn G (2018) 'Own-age biases in adults’ and children’s joint attention: Biased face prioritization, but not gaze following!' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 71, (2) 372-379 , DOI
Cocchini G, Galligan T, Mora L & Kuhn G (2018) 'The magic hand: Plasticity of mental hand representation' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 71, (11) 2314-2324 , DOI
Rissanen O, Pitkänen P, Juvonen A, Räihä P, Kuhn G & Hakkarainen K (2017) 'How Has the Emergence of Digital Culture Affected Professional Magic?' Professions and Professionalism 7, (3) e1957-e1957 , DOI
Kuhn G & Teszka R (2017) 'Don't Get Misdirected! Differences in Overt and Covert Attentional Inhibition between Children and Adults' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 17470218.2016.1-17470218.2016.1 , DOI
Connell CJW, Thompson B, Kuhn G & Gant N (2016) 'Exercise-Induced Fatigue and Caffeine Supplementation Affect Psychomotor Performance but Not Covert Visuo-Spatial Attention' PLOS ONE 11, (10) e0165318-e0165318 , DOI
Sumner E, Hutton SB, Kuhn G & Hill EL (2016) 'Oculomotor atypicalities in Developmental Coordination Disorder' Developmental Science 21, (1) , DOI
Kuhn G, Olson JA & Raz A (2016) 'Editorial: The Psychology of Magic and the Magic of Psychology' Frontiers in Psychology 7, , DOI
Connell CJW, Thompson B, Kuhn G, Claffey MP, Duncan S & Gant N (2016) 'Fatigue related impairments in oculomotor control are prevented by caffeine' Scientific Reports 6, (1) , DOI
Cole GG, Skarratt PA & Kuhn G (2016) 'Real Person Interaction in Visual Attention Research' European Psychologist 21, (2) 141-149 , DOI
Kuhn G & Rensink RA (2015) 'The Vanishing Ball Illusion: A new perspective on the perception of dynamic events' Cognition 148, 64-70 , DOI
Rensink RA & Kuhn G (2015) 'The possibility of a science of magic' Frontiers in Psychology 6, , DOI
Liu Z, Cheng M, Peng K & Zhang D (2015) 'Self-construal priming selectively modulates the scope of visual attention' Frontiers in Psychology 6, , DOI
Kuhn G, Teszka R, Tenaw N & Kingstone A (2015) 'Don’t be fooled! Attentional responses to social cues in a face-to-face and video magic trick reveals greater top-down control for overt than covert attention' Cognition 146, 136-142 , DOI
Kuhn G, Pickering A & Cole GG (2015) '“Rare” emotive faces and attentional orienting' Emotion 16, (1) 1-5 , DOI
Rensink RA & Kuhn G (2015) 'A framework for using magic to study the mind' Frontiers in Psychology 5, , DOI
Mohr C, Koutrakis N & Kuhn G (2015) 'Priming psychic and conjuring abilities of a magic demonstration influences event interpretation and random number generation biases' Frontiers in Psychology 5, , DOI
Rissanen O, Pitkänen P, Juvonen A, Kuhn G & Hakkarainen K (2014) 'Expertise among professional magicians: an interview study' Frontiers in Psychology 5, , DOI
Kuhn G, Caffaratti HA, Teszka R & Rensink RA (2014) 'A psychologically-based taxonomy of misdirection' Frontiers in Psychology 5, , DOI
Kuhn G, Pagano A, Maani S & Bunce D (2014) 'Age-related decline in the reflexive component of overt gaze following' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 68, (6) 1073-1081 , DOI
Bishop D, Kuhn G & Maton C (2014) 'Telling people where to look in a soccer-based decision task: A nomothetic approach' JOURNAL OF EYE MOVEMENT RESEARCH 7, (2)
Kourkoulou A, Kuhn G, Findlay JM & Leekam SR (2013) 'Eye Movement Difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Implicit Contextual Learning' Autism Research 6, (3) 177-189 , DOI
Rissanen O, Palonen T, Pitkänen P, Kuhn G & Hakkarainen K (2013) 'Personal Social Networks and the Cultivation of Expertise in Magic: An Interview Study' Vocations and Learning 6, (3) 347-365 , DOI
Kuhn G & Martinez LM (2012) 'Misdirection – Past, Present, and the Future' Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 5, , DOI
Skarratt PA, Cole GG & Kuhn G (2012) 'Visual cognition during real social interaction' Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6, , DOI
Kuhn G, Tewson L, Morpurgo L, Freebody SF, Musil AS & Leekam SR (2011) 'Developmental Changes in the Control of Saccadic Eye Movements in Response to Directional Eye Gaze and Arrows' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 64, (10) 1919-1929 , DOI
Cole GG, Kuhn G & Skarratt PA (2011) 'Non-transient luminance changes do not capture attention' Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 73, (5) 1407-1421 , DOI
Laidlaw KEW, Foulsham T, Kuhn G & Kingstone A (2011) 'Potential social interactions are important to social attention' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, (14) 5548-5553 , DOI
Cavina-Pratesi C, Kuhn G, Ietswaart M & Milner AD (2011) 'The Magic Grasp: Motor Expertise in Deception' PLoS ONE 6, (2) e16568-e16568 , DOI
Kuhn G & Tipples J (2010) 'Increased gaze following for fearful faces. It depends on what you’re looking for!' Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 18, (1) 89-95 , DOI
Kuhn G & Tatler BW (2010) 'Misdirected by the gap: The relationship between inattentional blindness and attentional misdirection' Consciousness and Cognition 20, (2) 432-436 , DOI
Kuhn G, Kourkoulou A & Leekam SR (2010) 'How Magic Changes Our Expectations About Autism' Psychological Science 21, (10) 1487-1493 , DOI
Cole GG & Kuhn G (2010) 'What the experimenter's prime tells the observer's brain' Attention, Perception & Psychophysics 72, (5) 1367-1376 , DOI
Kuhn G, Benson V, Fletcher-Watson S, Kovshoff H, McCormick CA, Kirkby J & Leekam SR (2009) 'Eye movements affirm: automatic overt gaze and arrow cueing for typical adults and adults with autism spectrum disorder' Experimental Brain Research 201, (2) 155-165 , DOI
Kuhn G, Tatler BW & Cole GG (2009) 'You look where I look! Effect of gaze cues on overt and covert attention in misdirection' Visual Cognition 17, (6-7) 925-944 , DOI
Cole GG & Kuhn G (2009) 'Appearance matters: Attentional orienting by new objects in the precueing paradigm' Visual Cognition 17, (5) 755-776 , DOI
Kuhn G & Findlay JM (2009) 'Misdirection, attention and awareness: Inattentional blindness reveals temporal relationship between eye movements and visual awareness' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 63, (1) 136-146 , DOI
Cole GG & Kuhn G (2009) 'Attentional capture by object appearance and disappearance' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 63, (1) 147-159 , DOI
Kuhn G & Kingstone A (2009) 'Look away! Eyes and arrows engage oculomotor responses automatically' Attention, Perception & Psychophysics 71, (2) 314-327 , DOI
Cole GG, Kuhn G, Heywood CA & Kentridge RW (2009) 'The Prioritization of Feature Singletons in the Change Detection Paradigm' Experimental Psychology 56, (2) 134-146 , DOI
Parris BA, Kuhn G, Mizon GA, Benattayallah A & Hodgson TL (2008) 'Imaging the impossible: An fMRI study of impossible causal relationships in magic tricks' NeuroImage 45, (3) 1033-1039 , DOI
Kuhn G, Amlani AA & Rensink RA (2008) 'Towards a science of magic' Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12, (9) 349-354 , DOI
Kuhn G, Tatler BW, Findlay JM & Cole GG (2008) 'Misdirection in magic: Implications for the relationship between eye gaze and attention' Visual Cognition 16, (2-3) 391-405 , DOI
Cole GG, Kuhn G & Liversedge SP (2007) 'Onset of illusory figures attenuates change blindness' Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 14, (5) 939-943 , DOI
Kuhn G & Benson V (2007) 'The influence of eye-gaze and arrow pointing distractor cues on voluntary eye movements' Perception & Psychophysics 69, (6) 966-971 , DOI
Kuhn G & Dienes Z (2007) 'Learning non-local dependencies' Cognition 106, (1) 184-206 , DOI
Kuhn G & Land MF (2006) 'There's more to magic than meets the eye' Current Biology 16, (22) R950-R951 , DOI
Kuhn G & Dienes Z (2006) 'Differences in the types of musical regularity learnt in incidental- and intentional-learning conditions' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 59, (10) 1725-1744 , DOI
Kuhn G & Tatler BW (2005) 'Magic and Fixation: Now You Don't See it, Now You Do' Perception 34, (9) 1155-1161 , DOI
Kuhn G & Dienes Z (2005) 'Implicit Learning of Nonlocal Musical Rules: Implicitly Learning More Than Chunks' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 31, (6) 1417-1432 , DOI
Kuhn G & Thomas C (2022) 'What can Magic Reveal About the Brain' Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience, 2nd edition Elsevier 597-604 , DOI
Dienes Z, Kuhn G, Guo X & Jones C (2011) 'Communicating structure, affect, and movement' Language and Music as Cognitive Systems Oxford University Press 156-168 , DOI
Tatler BW & Kuhn G (2007) 'Don't look now' Eye Movements Elsevier 697-714 , DOI
Conference Papers
Kumari S, Deterding S & Kuhn G (2018) 'Why game designers should study magic' FDG '18: Foundations of Digital Games 2018 ACM , DOI
Cole G & Kuhn G (2010) 'The influence of attention on the negative compatibility effect' 1152-1152
Cole GG & Kuhn G (2010) 'The role of attention in a masked-prime effect' 81-81
Laidlaw K, Foulsham T, Kuhn G & Kingstone A (2010) 'The importance of being present: The effect of a real or videotaped person on visual attention' 543-543