From the Editor; November / December 2010; Scientific American Mind; by Mariette DiChristina; 1 Page(s)
The hat with the fake bottom, which conceals a rabbit. The handkerchiefs tucked up one sleeve. And the box that has fake feet sticking out of one end, so the lady can be “sawed” in half (actually, she’s curled safely in one side). We think we know some of the common tools in the magician’s bag of tricks. But what we haven’t noticed—because of their deceptive skill—is that their number-one sleight facilitator is our own, untrustworthy mind.
Over many years conjurers have honed the high art of manipulating our brains. They deliberately divert our attention and focus to fool us with their delightful capers. An innocent-looking adjustment of eyeglasses with one hand can conceal a smooth movement by the other to hide a coin. Magicians’ “field research” has only recently become appreciated by neuroscientists working in labs—who use different means but who also study attention and awareness, a facet of the study of consciousness and one of the hottest areas of neuroscience.