What the neuroscience of magic reveals about our brains
Neuroscientists Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, the founders of the exciting new discipline of NeuroMagic — and also members of the Magic Castle, Magic Circle, International Brotherhood of Magicians, and the Society of American Magicians — have convinced some of the world’s greatest magicians to allow scientists to study their techniques for tricking the brain. Magic tricks work because humans have a hardwired process of attention and awareness that is hackable—a good magician uses your mind’s own intrinsic properties against you in a form of mental jujitsu. By understanding how magicians hack our brains, we can better understand how the same cognitive tricks are at work in advertising strategy, business negotiations, and all varieties of interpersonal relations. When we understand how magic works in the mind of the spectator we will have unveiled the neural bases of consciousness itself.
Sleights of Mind is the result of the authors’ multi-year, world-wide exploration of magic and how its principles apply to our behavior. Now magic can reveal how our brains work in everyday situations. For instance, if you’ve ever bought an expensive item you’d sworn you’d never buy, the salesperson was probably a master at creating the “illusion of choice,” a core technique of magic. The implications of neuromagic go beyond illuminating our behavior; early research points to new approaches for everything from the diagnosis of autism to marketing techniques and education. Sleights of Mind makes neuroscience fun and accessible by unveiling the key connections between magic and the mind.
Stephen L. Macknik, Ph.D., is Director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.
Susana Martinez-Conde, Ph.D., is Director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience at BNI.
Sandra Blakeslee is a regular contributor to “Science Times” at The New York Times who specializes in the brain sciences, and the author of several books.
Read more here: http://www.sleightsofmind.com/
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