Friday, 15 February 2013

The Language of Illusion

Gustav Kuhn completed his PhD at Sussex University in 2003, where he investigated implicit learning of musical structures. Prior to his academic career, Gustav had worked as a professional magician. Towards the end of his PhD he started to explore the ways in which magicians can misdirect people’s attention. He discovered the potential of using magic as a method for investigating a wide variety of cognitive processes.

Over the centuries, magicians have learned how to perform acts that are perceived as defying the laws of nature, and that induce a strong sense of wonder. Many of the techniques used to create these illusions share similarities with topics investigated by psychologists.

In a simple experiment, he shows us the difference between what we actually see and what we think we've seen during a simple magic trick. This disparity allows magicians to create illusions which both fool and entertain us.


2 comments:

Ed Love said...

Fascinating! I love magic, even though I know it's all illusion. Then again, so is film to a large degree.

Kathy Smart said...

Movies rely on a similar trick. They are a series of pictures, not a continuous movement, but we see them as a continuous movement. They're finding the edge of our perception.