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Mind Matters: The Science of Magic
Thu 4 May 2017, 17:30 – 18:30 BST
Experiencing the Impossible: Why Magic Works
Magic is one of the most captivating and enduring forms of entertainment and magicians all over the world have baffled and amazed their audiences by creating magical illusion. Recent advances in our scientific understanding of magic are providing new insights into the nature of magic, and the ease by which magicians trick us highlights many of our mind’s limitations. These surprising and stunning illusions provide intriguing insights into how our brain works. We will use science, interactive demonstrations and magic to explore the psychology of magic and explain why our mind is so easily deceived.
Magicians create many of their illusions by exploiting huge gaps in our conscious experience, holes that we are typically unaware of. For example they use misdirection to manipulate your attention, which prevents you from noticing things that are right in front of your eyes. In this talk we will illustrate that the world you experience as being real is in fact simply an illusion, and question the idea that seeing is believing.
Understanding how and why our brain is fooled will dramatically change the way you judge yourself and others, and it will also provide you with a new appreciation of your brain’s amazing capacity. For example, did you know that you can really see the future?
Dr. Gustav Kuhn is a magician and member of the Magic Circle, and was his interest in deception and illusions that sparked a curiosity about the human mind. Dr. Kuhn is a Reader in the department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and director of the MAGIC Lab. He as authored over 50 scientific papers and is one of the leading researchers in the science of magic.
Dr Megan Freeth is a lecturer in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Sheffield with a specialism in Attention. Her work has provided a range of important insights into typical and atypical attention (e.g. how those with autism view aspects the world differently). She is a faculty member of the Sheffield Autism Research Lab.
Mind Matters is a talk series run by the University of Sheffield’s Psychology department. This series aims to bring psychology to the public. This allows a chance for the public to learn more about what research goes on in the department and the real life implications of that research. To keep updated with all Mind Matters events and for more information on how to get involved follow our website: http://www.mindmatters.group.shef.ac.uk/