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Barrow researchers use magic for discoveries
Date:5/22/2012

g," says Martinez-Conde. This finding is believed to be the first discovery in the neuroscientific literature initiated by a magician, rather than a scientist.

In another study, the researchers worked with professional magician Mac King to investigate magicians' use of social cues like the position of their gaze to misdirect observers.

They studied a popular coin-vanishing trick, in which King tosses a coin up and down in his right hand before "tossing" it to his left hand, where it subsequently disappears. In reality, the magician only simulates tossing the coin to the left hand, an implied motion that essentially tricks the neurons into responding as they would have if the coin had actually been thrown.

The Barrow researchers discovered that social misdirection does not always help magic. By presenting two different videos of King one in which the audience could see his face and another in which his face was hidden they found that social misdirection did not play a role in this particular trick.

"We wondered if the observer's perception of magic was going to be different if they could see the magician's head and eye position. To our surprise, it didn't matter," says Martinez-Conde. "This indicates that social misdirection in magic is more complicated than previously believed, and not necessary for the perception of all magic tricks."


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Contact: Lynne Reaves
lynne.reaves@dignityhealth.org
602-406-4734
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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