Social misdirection in magic is complicated, study finds

Discoveries into perception via popular magic tricks.

Researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center have unveiled how and why the public perceives some magic tricks in recent studies that could have real-world implications in military tactics, marketing and sports.

Susana Martinez-Conde, PhD, of Barrow’s Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience, and Stephen Macknik, PhD, of Barrow’s Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology are well known for their research into magic and illusions. Their most recent original research projects, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, offer additional insight into perception and cognition.

One of the studies was initiated by professional magician Apollo Robbins, who believed that audience members directed their attention differently depending on the type of hand motion used.

Source: Science Daily

The results of the study indicate: “…social misdirection in magic is more complicated than previously believed, and not necessary for the perception of all magic tricks.”

This follows a few other studies in the laboratory that featured magic. James “The Amazing” Randi’s next book will be called “A Magician in the Laboratory” that will include information about applying science to skepticism and how easy it is for people to be fooled.