Are Women Perceived as Worse Magicians Than Men?

Gender Bias When Evaluating Magic Tricks


  • Pascal Gygax
  • Cyril Thomas
  • André Didierjean
  • Gustav Kuhn


We present two experiments investigating the effect of the perceived gender of a magician on the perception of the quality of magic tricks. In Experiment 1, tricks performed by an allegedly female magician were considered worse than those by an allegedly male magician. In Experiment 2, participants had to generate possible solutions to how the tricks were done. Under these conditions, male participants were better at explaining the tricks, but the gender effect found in Experiment 1 disappeared. We discuss the gender bias in Experiment 1 and the lack of bias in Experiment 2 in terms of specific social and cognitive mechanisms (e.g., cognitive dissonance).