Magic & the Brain

Posted on Jun 23, 2017 by Joey

Your Brain...

Hard to know for certain what’s going on inside that cranium of ours, but some recent studies into magic shed some light.
“Magic tricks boost confidence and self-discipline,” says psychologists
calling for magic lessons to be introduced into classrooms, according the Guardian newspaper. Kids were taught magic as part of the school lesson plan.
Teachers revealed that, in the study, the kids that attended the “magic school” were significantly more sociable and more confident. (The children rated it more fun, too!)
In Hocus Focus it’s the healing power of magic that is preeminent: teaching magic to kids with behavioral disabilities, autism and other roadblocks to socialization.  The program is student centered and experiential based.
The “Art of Illusion” was founded in 1988 when award-winning illusionist, Kevin Spencer, suffered a closed head injury and lower spinal cord injury.
According to his site: “he and his wife collaborated with therapists to develop a program that would use simple magic tricks to help patients regain lost physical skills while increasing motivational levels and self esteem.  This is the foundation of the Healing of Magic.”
In other news Teller reveals the neuroscience of illusion. In this Wired article Teller says that magicians are able to fool people because they know what’s going on inside their audience’s brain.
The work of Teller and other scientists culminated in a paper where one author put it this way, “Tricks work only because magicians know, at an intuitive level, how the rest of us look at the world”.
These are all true. Especially that last one ;-)