Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Magician's Hand: How Humor And Misdirection Can Manipulate Levels Of Attention

Date:
August 20, 2008
Source:
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center
Summary:
Two neuroscientists have studied how magicians mix humor into their performances because a laughing audience is unable to pay attention to the magician's hand. The study also determined that there are various levels of misdirection that magicians use to trick an audience. These insights, which were previously unknown to scientists, suggest that humor and misdirection can help manipulate levels of attention.

Two neuroscientists at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center are turning magic tricks into science. Stephen Macknik, Ph.D., director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology; and Susana Martinez-Conde, Ph.D., director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience; are working with world-famous magicians to discover the brain's mechanisms underlying attention and awareness.

The collaboration between the magicians and scientists in a recent study have led to new insights and may benefit the fields of education and medical rehabilitation by using magical techniques to help treat ADHD, Alzheimer's disease and brain trauma.

"Magicians have developed powerful cognitive principles and intuitions about attention and awareness that are not understood scientifically," says Dr. Martinez-Conde. "We've been able to learn more about cognition from magicians who have developed illusions that trick audiences."

The scientists have studied how magicians mix humor into their performances because a laughing audience is unable to pay attention to the magician's hand. The study also determined that there are various levels of misdirection that magicians use to trick an audience. These insights, which were previously unknown to scientists, suggest that humor and misdirection can help manipulate levels of attention.

The magicians working with Drs. Macknik and Martinez-Conde include James Randi (The Amazing Randi), Teller (of Penn & Teller), Apollo Robbins, Mac King and John Thomson (The Great Tomsoni).

"The collaboration on this project has led to many exciting insights to help us understand the brain's underlying cognition," says Dr. Martinez-Conde.

Drs. Macknick and Martinez-Conde have been featured on the cover of Scientific American and in the Wall Street Journal for their research on fixational eye movements.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. "Magician's Hand: How Humor And Misdirection Can Manipulate Levels Of Attention." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819092019.htm>.
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. (2008, August 20). Magician's Hand: How Humor And Misdirection Can Manipulate Levels Of Attention. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819092019.htm
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. "Magician's Hand: How Humor And Misdirection Can Manipulate Levels Of Attention." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819092019.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins