Perspectives

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9, 871-879 (November 2008) | doi:10.1038/nrn2473

Science and societyAttention and awareness in stage magic: turning tricks into research

See also: Correspondence by Lamont & Henderson | Correspondence by Macknik & Martinez-Conde | Correspondence by Lamont & Henderson | Correspondence by Macknik & Martinez-Conde | Correspondence by Lamont & Henderson | Correspondence by Macknik & Martinez-Conde | Correspondence by Lamont & Henderson | Correspondence by Macknik & Martinez-Conde

Stephen L. Macknik1, Mac King, James Randi2, Apollo Robbins, Teller, John Thompson & Susana Martinez-Conde1  About the authors

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Just as vision scientists study visual art and illusions to elucidate the workings of the visual system, so too can cognitive scientists study cognitive illusions to elucidate the underpinnings of cognition. Magic shows are a manifestation of accomplished magic performers' deep intuition for and understanding of human attention and awareness. By studying magicians and their techniques, neuroscientists can learn powerful methods to manipulate attention and awareness in the laboratory. Such methods could be exploited to directly study the behavioural and neural basis of consciousness itself, for instance through the use of brain imaging and other neural recording techniques.

Author affiliations

  1. Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde are at the Barrow Neurological Institute, 350 West Thomas Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85013, USA.
  2. James Randi is at the James Randi Educational Foundation, 201 South East 12th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316, USA.

Correspondence to: Susana Martinez-Conde1 Email: smart@neuralcorrelate.com

Published online 30 July 2008

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