Researcher finds method behind magic

May 10, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- A magician will have the upper hand because he knows how his trick works. But, according to Jay Olson, the magician might not know why.

A recent study co-authored by Olson, a Simon Fraser University psychology teaching assistant, investigates the behind card magic. It says that while the participant may think they have a free choice of any card, there are a number of patterns suggesting otherwise.

For example, the study found that when asked to name a playing card, most people chose only one of four: the ace, queen or king of hearts, or the ace of spades. Unexpectedly, women chose the king of hearts more than men did, and men chose the queen of hearts more than women. The magician’s trick is to exploit these patterns.

The next step, according to Olson, is to apply the findings to a broader field than just magic; to see how the mind works. Understanding how magicians are able to influence people could lead to a better understanding of memory, decision-making and awareness.

“We hope this study will promote more collaboration between psychologists and ," says Olson. "This will help us learn more about magic from psychology, and more about psychology from ."

The full study is available online from the journal, Perception.

Related Stories

Researcher uses card trick to reveal unconscious knowledge

November 17, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Spanish neuroscientist Luis Martínez of the Institute of Neurosciences in Alicante, has shown that an exception exists regarding “change blindness” and it can be demonstrated by using ...

Recommended for you

Neural efficiency hypothesis confirmed

July 27, 2015

One of the big questions intelligence researchers grapple with is just how differences in intelligence are reflected in the human brain. Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in studying further details relating to suspected ...

How does color blindness affect color preferences?

July 21, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Dichromacy is a color vision defect in which one of the three types of cone photoreceptors is missing. The condition is hereditary and sex-linked, mostly affecting males. Although researchers have explored ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.