Visual cognition and the science of magic

Geoff, G, Cole. and Millett, Abbie (2023) Visual cognition and the science of magic. Vision, 7 (3). ISSN 2411-5150

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A number of authors have argued that the art of conjuring can assist the development of theories and knowledge in visual cognition and psychology more broadly. A central assumption of the so-called science of magic is that magicians possess particular insight into human cognition. In a series of experiments, we tested the Insight hypothesis by assessing three factors that magicians argue are important for a popular illusion. Participants viewed videos of a magician performing the French Drop sleight whilst gaze, motion, and muscular tension were manipulated across experiments. Contrary to what the community of conjurers state, results showed that none of these influenced the perceived success of the effect. We also found that a visual priming technique, one suggested of many and used by an eminent magician, does not influence participant responses. Overall, these findings fail to support the Insight hypothesis. We suggest that scientists of magic have erroneously imbued magicians with insights they do not possess.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: science of magic, priming, gaze cueing, motion capture, Derren Brown, Teller
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: David Upson-Dale
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2023 13:25
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2023 13:25

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