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For other uses, see Magical thinking (disambiguation).
Magical thinking is the attribution of causal or synchronistic relationships between actions and events which seemingly cannot be justified by reason and observation. In religion, folk religion, and superstitious beliefs, the posited correlation is often between religious ritual, prayer, sacrifice, or the observance of a taboo, and an expected benefit or recompense. In clinical psychology, magical thinking can cause a patient to experience fear of performing certain acts or having certain thoughts because of an assumed correlation between doing so and threatening calamities. Magical thinking may lead people to believe that their thoughts by themselves can bring about effects in the world or that thinking something corresponds with doing it. It is a type of causal reasoning or causal fallacythat looks for meaningful relationships of grouped phenomena (coincidence) between acts and events.
'Quasi-magical thinking' describes 'cases in which people act as if they erroneously believe that their action influences the outcome, even though they do not really hold that belief.'