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Magicians have always captured our imagination because they are fantastic at their jobs. They can easily trick us into believing that a coin disappeared or that a rabbit suddenly came out of a magician's hat.
Now, neuroscientists have finally unveiled how magicians fool audiences. How exactly do magicians trick our brains? Find out below.
Neuroscientists have finally uncovered how magicians use the art of misdirection to fool our brains.
It was also revealed that magicians multitask so that the viewers will be unable to properly focus on each detail.
A magician makes a coin "disappear" by using the thumb and fingers to move the coin around.
The audience can see the coin, and the coin's reflection goes to the viewer's retina. The retina is a part of the eye, as seen in the image. Once the viewer makes a mental image of the coin, the left hand of the magician will go towards the right hand. However, the magician is only pretending to take the coin. This trick is called the false take.
The magician then moves the left hand away from the right hand. The viewer thinks that the magician is carrying the coin because the moving-away gesture activates the excitatory connections of the brain. However, the magician did not really carry the coin away, it only appears that way because of the brain's processes.
The brain should process the visual appearance of the right hand, but inhibitory connections prevent the process. So, the audience temporarily fails to notice that the right hand is still carrying the coin.
Another strategy for magicians is to be funny and to present scary situations so that the attention of viewers are affected.
Another strategy to dominate the attention of the audience is to talk fast. The audience will have a hard time processing both what they see and what they hear so that the brain would be busy.
One other strategy is to make other objects in the stage more noticeable. A white dove or a colorful deck of cards will make people not notice other things in the stage.
Thus, magicians not only fool people through their hand movements and their tools. They also trick the audience by taking advantage of perception and mental processes.
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