Dr Gustav Kuhn

Staff details

Position Reader
Department Psychology
Email g.kuhn (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7296 4388
Dr Gustav Kuhn


Gustav is a Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths, where he the Chair of the Recruitment Outreach and Marketing Committee. He is also president of the Science of Magic Association (SOMA) and a member of the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) and the Magic Circle (M.M.C).

He has contributed to several diverse research areas, including social cognition, consciousness, attention, illusory experiences, magical thinking, free will, misdirection and a range of areas related to the scientific study of magic. The breadth of his work is not only seen in scientific contributions, but also in his engagement to bring science to the public, and bridging the gap between magic and science. Visit https://www.magicresearchlab.com for more information about the research lab.

Grants and Awards

Gustav has received external grant funding from a variety of organisations to support his work including: Swiss National Science Foundation, Australian Research Council, Experimental Psychology Society.

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Gustav has worked extensively to support science communication and the application of psychological insights to the real world. Some examples include:
• Organising public workshops and conferences designed to connect the wider public with relevant research related to the science of magic and consulted on pubic science exhibitions (e.g. Wellcome trust)
• Regular engagement in public-facing events including festivals, lectures, school events,
• Involvement with a range of media presentations including features in major outlets in USA, Europe, Example outlets include: BBC (radio, television, and online media), Wired, Guardian, New Scientist. Scientific American, Nautilus


Research Interests

Gustav’s main themes of research relate to the study of social cognition, consciousness, attention, illusory experiences, magical thinking, free will. He is a member of our Cognition and Neuroscience Group and our Science of the Creative and Performing Arts Group. Key areas of interest are listed below. For full details on projects see https://www.magicresearchlab.com/projects

• Consciousness
• Attention
• Social cognition
• Eye movements
• Misdirection
• Magical Beliefs
• Forcing and Free Will
• Magic and Wellbeing
• Metacognition
• Deception

Publications and research outputs

Book Section

Kuhn, Gustav and Thomas, Cyril. 2021. What can magic reveal about the brain. In: George Koob and Sergio Della Sala, eds. Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience. 2nd Edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 597-604. ISBN 9780128196410


Bagienski, Steven and Kuhn, Gustav. 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), pp. 285-303. ISSN 2326-5523

Kuhn, Gustav; Kingori, Patricia and Peeters, Koen. 2022. Misdirection – Magic, Psychology and its application. Science & Technology Studies, 35(2), pp. 13-29. ISSN 2243-4690

Peeters Grietens, Koen; Friesen, Phoebe; Gerrets, Rene; Kuhn, Gustav; Kingori, Patricia and Douglas-Jones, Rachel. 2022. Misdirection in Global Health Creating the Illusion of (Im)possible Alternatives in Global Health Research and Practice. Science & Technology Studies, 35(2), pp. 2-12. ISSN 2243-4690

Lesaffre, Lise; Kuhn, Gustav; Jopp, Daniela; Mantzouranis, Gregory; Ndéyane, Cécile; Rochat, Déborah and Mohr, Christine. 2021. Talking to the dead in the classroom. How a supposedly psychic event impacts beliefs and feelings. Psychological Reports, 124(6), pp. 2427-2452. ISSN 0033-2941

Pailhes, Alice; Kumari, Shringi and Kuhn, Gustav. 2021. The Magician’s Choice: Providing illusory choice and sense of agency with the Equivoque forcing technique. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 150(7), pp. 1358-1372. ISSN 0096-3445

Pailhes, Alice and Kuhn, Gustav. 2021. Subtly encouraging more deliberate decisions: Using a forcing technique and population stereotype to investigate free will. Psychological Research, 85(4), pp. 1380-1390. ISSN 0340-0727

Pailhes, Alice and Kuhn, Gustav. 2021. Mind Control Tricks: Magicians’ Forcing and Free Will. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 25(5), pp. 338-341. ISSN 1364-6613

Pailhes, Alice and Kuhn, Gustav. 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), pp. 1784-1795. ISSN 1747-0218

Pailhes, Alice; Rensink, Ronald A. and Kuhn, Gustav. 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. ISSN 1053-8100

Cutting, J; Cairns, Paul and Kuhn, Gustav. 2020. Nothing else matters: Video games create sustained attentional selection away from task-irrelevant features. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 82, pp. 3907-3919. ISSN 1943-3921

Pailhes, Alice and Kuhn, Gustav. 2020. Influencing choices with conversational primes: How a magic trick unconsciously influences card choices. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(30), pp. 17675-17679. ISSN 0027-8424

Kuhn, Gustav; Pailhes, Alice and Lan, Yuxuan. 2020. Forcing you to experience wonder: Unconsciously biasing people’s choice through strategic physical positioning. Consciousness and Cognition, 80, 102902. ISSN 1053-8100

Bagienski, Steven and Kuhn, Gustav. 2020. Beyond the Crossroads of magic, health, and wellbeing. World Health Organization, Public Health Panorama, 6(1), pp. 155-171.

Spence, C; Youssef, Y and Kuhn, Gustav. 2020. Magic on the menu: Where are all the magical food and beverage experiences? Foods, 9(3), 257. ISSN 2304-8158

Gygax, Pascal; Thomas, Cyril; Didierjean, André and Kuhn, Gustav. 2019. Are women perceived as worse magicians than men? Gender bias when evaluating magic tricks. Social Psychological Bulletin, 14(3), e33574. ISSN 1896-1800

Mansour, Hassan and Kuhn, Gustav. 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), pp. 1913-1925. ISSN 1747-0218

Mohr, Christine; Lesaffer, L and Kuhn, Gustav. 2019. 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), pp. 126-137. ISSN 1932-4502

Scott, Hannah; Batton, Jonathan P. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2019. 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), pp. 109-118. ISSN 1943-3921

Thomas, C; Didierjean, A and Kuhn, Gustav. 2018. It is magic! How impossible solutions prevent the discovery of obvious ones? The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(12), pp. 2481-2487. ISSN 1747-0218

Lan, Yuxuan; Mohr, Christine; Hu, Xiaomeng and Kuhn, Gustav. 2018. Fake science: The impact of pseudo-psychological demonstrations on people’s beliefs in psychological principles. PLoS ONE, 13(11), ISSN 1932-6203

Lesaffre, Lise; Kuhn, Gustav; Abu-Akel, Ahmad; Rochat, Déborah and Mohr, Christine. 2018. Magic Performances – When Explained in Psychic Terms by University Students. Frontiers in Psychology, 9,

Cocchini, Gianna; Galligan, Toni; Mora, Laura and Kuhn, Gustav. 2018. The magic hand: plasticity of mental hand representation. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(11), pp. 2314-2324. ISSN 1747-0218

Kuhn, Gustav; Vacaityte, Ieva; D’Souza, Antonia D. C; Millett, Abbie and Cole, Geoff G.. 2018. Mental states modulate gaze following, but not automatically. Cognition, 180, pp. 1-9. ISSN 0010-0277

Thomas, C.; Didierjean, A and Kuhn, Gustav. 2018. The Flushtration Count Illusion: Attribute substitution tricks our interpretation of a simple visual event sequence. British Journal of Psychology, 109(4), pp. 850-861. ISSN 0007-1269

Ortega, J.; Montañesa, P.; Barnhart, A. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2018. Exploiting failures in metacognition through magic: Visual awareness as a source of visual metacognition bias. Consciousness and Cognition, 65, pp. 152-168. ISSN 1053-8100

Kumari, S.; Deterding, S. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2018. Why Game Designers Should Study Magic. Foundations of Digital Games 2018 (FDG18), August 7–10, 2018, Malmö, Sweden. ACM, New York, NY, USA,

Kuhn, Gustav and Teszka, Robert. 2018. Don't get misdirected! Differences in overt and covert attentional inhibition between children and adults. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(3), pp. 688-694. ISSN 1747-0218

Freebody, Susannah and Kuhn, Gustav. 2018. Own-age biases in adults’ and children’s joint attention: Biased face prioritization, but not gaze following! The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(2), pp. 372-379. ISSN 1747-0218

Sumner, Emma; Hutton, Samuel B.; Kuhn, Gustav and Hill, Elisabeth L.. 2018. Oculomotor atypicalities in Developmental Coordination Disorder. Developmental Science, 21(1), e12501. ISSN 1363-755X

Sakakibara, Manabu; Connell, Charlotte J. W.; Thompson, Benjamin; Kuhn, Gustav and Gant, Nicholas. 2016. Exercise-Induced Fatigue and Caffeine Supplementation Affect Psychomotor Performance but Not Covert Visuo-Spatial Attention. PLoS ONE, 11(10), pp. 1-19. ISSN 1932-6203

Kuhn, Gustav; Olson, Jay A. and Raz, Amir. 2016. Editorial: The Psychology of Magic and the Magic of Psychology. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1358. ISSN 1664-1078

Cole, Geoff G.; Skarratt, Paul A. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2016. Real person interaction in visual attention research. European Psychologist, 21(2), pp. 141-149. ISSN 1016-9040

Connell, Charlotte J. W.; Thompson, Benjamin; Claffey, Michael P.; Duncan, Shelley; Kuhn, Gustav and Gant, Nicholas. 2016. Fatigue related impairments in oculomotor control are prevented by caffeine. Scientific Reports, 6, 26614. ISSN 2045-2322

Cole, Geoff G.; Skarratt, Paul A. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2016. Real Person Interaction in Visual Attention Research. European Psychologist, 21(2), pp. 141-149. ISSN 1016-9040

Kuhn, Gustav and Rensink, Ronald A.. 2016. The Vanishing Ball Illusion: A new perspective on the perception of dynamic events. Cognition, 148, pp. 64-70. ISSN 0010-0277

Kuhn, Gustav; Pickering, Alan and Cole, Geoff G.. 2016. Rare” Emotive Faces and Attentional Orienting. Emotion, 16(1), pp. 1-5. ISSN 1528-3542

Kuhn, Gustav; Teszka, Robert; Tenaw, Natalia and Kingstone, Alan. 2016. 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, pp. 136-142. ISSN 0010-0277

Rensink, Ronald A. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2015. The possibility of a science of magic. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1576. ISSN 1664-1078

Rensink, Ronald A. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2015. A framework for using magic to study the mind. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1508. ISSN 1664-1078

Mohr, Christine; Koutrakis, Nikolaos and Kuhn, Gustav. 2015. Priming psychic and conjuring abilities of a magic demonstration influences event interpretation and random number generation biases. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1542. ISSN 1664-1078

Kuhn, Gustav; Pagano, Amber; Maani, Sumaya and Bunce, David. 2015. Age-related decline in the reflexive component of overt gaze following. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68(6), pp. 1073-1081. ISSN 1747-0218

Kuhn, Gustav; Caffaratti, Hugo A.; Teszka, Robert and Rensink, Ronald A.. 2014. A psychologically-based taxonomy of misdirection. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1392. ISSN 1664-1078

Rissanen, Olli; Pitkänen, Petteri; Juvonen, Antti; Kuhn, Gustav and Hakkarainen, Kai. 2014. Expertise among professional magicians: an interview study. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(1484), pp. 1-4. ISSN 1664-1078

Bishop, D.; Kuhn, Gustav and Matron, C.. 2014. Telling people where to look in a soccer-based decision task: A nomothetic approach. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 7(2), pp. 1-13.

Rissanen, Olli; Palonen, Tuire; Pitkänen, Petteri; Kuhn, Gustav and Hakkarainen, Kai. 2013. Personal Social Networks and the Cultivation of Expertise in Magic: An Interview Study. Vocations and Learning, 6(3), pp. 347-365. ISSN 1874-785X

Kourkoulou, Anastasia; Kuhn, Gustav; Findlay, John M. and Leekam, Susan R.. 2013. Eye Movement Difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Implicit Contextual Learning. Autism Research, 6(3), pp. 177-189. ISSN 1939-3792

Skarratt, Paul A.; Cole, Geoff G. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2012. Visual cognition during real social interaction. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6(196), pp. 1-9. ISSN 1662-5161

Kuhn, Gustav and Martinez, L. M.. 2012. Misdirection - past, present, and the future. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5,

Kuhn, Gustav; Tewson, L.; Morpurgo, L.; Freebody, S. F.; Musil, A. S. and Leekam, S. R.. 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), pp. 1919-1929.

Laidlaw, K. E. W.; Foulsham, T.; Kuhn, Gustav and Kingstone, A.. 2011. Potential social interactions are important to social attention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(14), pp. 5548-5553.

Cavina-Pratesi, C.; Kuhn, Gustav; Ietswaart, M. and Milner, A. D.. 2011. The Magic Grasp: Motor Expertise in Deception. PLoS ONE, 6(2), e16568-e16568. ISSN 1932-6203

Kuhn, Gustav and Tipples, J.. 2011. Increased gaze following for fearful faces. It depends on what you're looking for! Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18(1), pp. 89-95.

Kuhn, Gustav and Tatler, Benjamin W.. 2011. Misdirected by the gap: The relationship between inattentional blindness and attentional misdirection. Consciousness and Cognition, 20(2), pp. 432-436.

Cole, Geoff G.; Kuhn, Gustav and Skarratt, Paul A.. 2011. Non-transient luminance changes do not capture attention. Attention Perception & Psychophysics, 73(5), pp. 1407-1421.

Kuhn, Gustav; Kourkoulou, A. and Leekam, S. R.. 2010. How Magic Changes Our Expectations About Autism. Psychological Science, 21(10), pp. 1487-1493. ISSN 0956-7976

Cole, G. G. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2010. Attentional capture by object appearance and disappearance. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63(1), pp. 147-159.

Cole, G. G. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2010. What the experimenter's prime tells the observer's brain. Attention Perception & Psychophysics, 72(5), pp. 1367-1376.

Cole, G. G. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2010. The role of attention in a masked-prime effect. Perception, 39, p. 81.

Kuhn, Gustav and Findlay, J. M.. 2010. Misdirection, attention and awareness: Inattentional blindness reveals temporal relationship between eye movements and visual awareness. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63(1), pp. 136-146.

Kuhn, Gustav; Benson, V.; Fletcher-Watson, S.; Kovshoff, H.; McCormick, C. A.; Kirkby, J. and Leekam, S. R.. 2010. Eye movements affirm: automatic overt gaze and arrow cueing for typical adults and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Experimental Brain Research, 201(2), pp. 155-165.

Cole, G. G.; Kuhn, Gustav; Heywood, C. A. and Kentridge, R. W.. 2009. The Prioritization of Feature Singletons in the Change Detection Paradigm. Experimental Psychology, 56(2), pp. 134-146.

Kuhn, Gustav and Kingstone, A.. 2009. Look away! Eyes and arrows engage oculomotor responses automatically. Attention Perception & Psychophysics, 71(2), pp. 314-327.

Parris, B. A.; Kuhn, G.; Mizon, G. A.; Benattayallah, A. and Hodgson, T. L.. 2009. Imaging the impossible: An fMRI study of impossible causal relationships in magic tricks. Neuroimage, 45(3), pp. 1033-1039.

Kuhn, Gustav; Amlani, A. A. and Rensink, R. A.. 2008. Towards a science of magic. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(9), pp. 349-354. ISSN 1364-6613

Kuhn, Gustav and Dienes, Z.. 2008. Learning non-local dependencies. Cognition, 106(1), pp. 184-206.

Kuhn, Gustav; Tatler, Benjamin W.; Findlay, John M. and Cole, Geoff G.. 2008. Misdirection in magic: Implications for the relationship between eye gaze and attention. Visual Cognition, 16(2-3), pp. 391-405. ISSN 1350-6285

Kuhn, Gustav and Benson, V.. 2007. The influence of eye-gaze and arrow pointing distractor cues on voluntary eye movements. Perception & Psychophysics, 69(6), pp. 966-971.

Kuhn, Gustav and Dienes, Z.. 2006. Differences in the types of musical regularity learnt in incidental- and intentional-learning conditions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59(10), pp. 1725-1744.

Kuhn, Gustav and Land, Michael F.. 2006. There's more to magic than meets the eye. Current Biology, 16(22), R950-R951. ISSN 0960-9822

Kuhn, Gustav and Dienes, Z.. 2005. Implicit learning of nonlocal musical rules: Implicitly learning more than chunks. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition, 31(6), pp. 1417-1432.

Kuhn, Gustav and Tatler, B. W.. 2005. Magic and fixation: Now you don't see it, now you do. Perception, 34(9), pp. 1155-1161.

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