Monday, August 04, 2008

Magic and Science

Click on the title to this post to read a fascinating article from the Boston Globe's Ideas section Sunday, August 3, 2008. Title: "How magicians control your mind: Magic isn't just a bag of tricks - it's a finely-tuned technology for shaping what we see. Now researchers are extracting its lessons," by Drake Bennett. Cognitive neuroscientists are teaming up with professional magicians to look at what magicians' age-old tricks of the trade can teach us about human perception. I found it both exciting -- there are wonderful possibilities for improving public safety -- and unnerving. I can see immediate applications for these ideas in both the military/spying field and in advertising. I'm not sure I want them to control my mind!

Great links to online activities (from a sidebar in print that didn't come up linked to the article online:

* Magician Apollo Robbins' talk & demo at Mind Science TV website. The website puts the most recent video up on this page, so if you are visiting more than a few days from 8/3, you may need to click on the link for a listing of videos. This is titled "Science of Magic."

* Video of disappearing cigarette and lighter and video of a vanishing ball illusion at Durham University in England, Prof. Gustav Kuhn's Science of Magic

* Inattention blindness video by Prof. Daniel Simons at University of Illinois here.

Image of the magician's hat and rabbit from the Boston Globe article.

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