NEUROSCIENTISTS AND CONJURERS—AND TELLER TALKS. The article from Nature that Jonah Lerher linked to reports on a conference that brought neuroscientists and conjurers together. The article begins with discussing the neural activity that occurs during some magic tricks that involve visual illusions. It reports on an experiment that measured eye movements during a magic trick (the magician made a cigarette disappear by dropping it below a table). The study concluded that the trick worked by manipulating the spectators’ attention rather than their gaze. A principle for magicians is “A big move covers a small move.” The article discusses some of the neural processes that may explain this. Some tricks violate ideas of cause and effect. An experiment using MRI’s for viewers “showed greater activation in inferior medial frontal areas during the viewing of magic tricks than during the viewing of the control videos.” Movies identified in the article as S1 to S6 show some of the conference activity. S4 shows Teller explaining the use of purposeful action to mislead. Here is Teller talking.

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