Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions
January 15, 2011
I’ve just finished a wonderful, extremely original book, Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions that combines magic and cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience that explains not only the ‘secrets’ behind some unusual magic tricks but why the work, given how our brains process information.
You’ll learn why techniques like ‘the illusion of choice’ work on stage with a deck of cards, with sales people at your local mall and in the arguments made by political commentators. Once you understand how we perceive the world, you’ll see the shortcuts and tricks that can be used by anyone to focus our attention just where it will be most profitable (or entertaining). The old saw, ‘the hand is quicker than the eye’ is simply not true: magic, like all deception, is based on how poorly (for the most part) our brains process information.
Husband and wife authors Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, along with science writer Sandra Blakeslee, have put together a great deal of information in a thoroughly engaging way. I think no one who’s read it would argue that it’s the most entertaining way to learn about brain science between two covers.
(I would also highly recommend Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind by V.S.Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee and The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better by Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee.
To read an excerpt and learn more on the subject, there’s no better place to go then the Sleights of Mind website, www.sleightsofmind.com.