Saturday, January 03, 2009

The neuroscience of magic

Scientific American has written an article about how neuroscientists are studying the tricks of magicians in order to gain insight into the way the brain functions. The whole thing is worth reading, but here are the key concepts delineated:

  • Magic tricks often work by covert misdirection, drawing the spectator’s attention away from the secret “method” that makes a trick work.
  • Neuroscientists are scrutinizing magic tricks to learn how they can be put to work in experimental studies that probe aspects of consciousness not necessarily grounded in current sensory reality.
  • Brain imaging shows that some regions are particularly active during certain kinds of magic tricks.

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