Magic is an art, as capable of beauty as music, painting or poetry. But the core of every trick is a cold, cognitive experiment in perception: Does the trick fool the audience? A magician’s data sample spans centuries, and his experiments have been replicated often enough to constitute near-certainty. Neuroscientists—well intentioned as they are—are gathering soil samples from the foot of a mountain that magicians have mapped and mined for centuries. MRI machines are awesome, but if you want to learn the psychology of magic, you’re better off with Cub Scouts and hard candy.
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If you have ever seen the Penn & Teller show, you realize just how beautiful an art magic is.
In this article, Teller reveals “a few principles magicians employ when they want to alter your perceptions”.
Did you know he was published in a Nature (scientific journal) with James Randi and others? Attention and awareness in stage magic: turning tricks into research. Here is the abstract.
And I totally can’t resist showing you this…
More from NPR. Hear Teller speak.