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Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of…
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Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our…

by Stephen L. Macknik, Susana Martinez-Conde

Other authors: Sandra Blakeslee

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Better off reading other books.

Overpromised , underdelivered. ( )
  adamren | Apr 27, 2016 |
The authors, a husband-and-wife team of neuroscience researchers, became interested in stage magic because they were curious about whether the tricks that magicians use to fool people could be useful in setting up psychological experiments. But they quickly came to realize that magicians actually have a remarkable amount of practical knowledge of how human perception works, and that there's a lot for scientists to learn from studying their art. So they flung themselves into the world of magic, learned the tricks of the trade, and, with this book, they report back on what they've discovered in the intersection between science and sleight of hand.

It's a pleasantly written, very readable book, with just the right amount of personal touch. The writers are fun people to hang out with for a couple hundred pages, and clearly enthusiastic about every aspect of their subject matter. It's completely impossible not to smile when they describe the charmingly dorky brain science-themed stage act they themselves developed and performed.

There is a bit less technical depth than I'd expected going in. There are, in the early chapters, some explanations about how the firings of our neurons makes up our picture of the world, but it's not all that detailed, and for the most part the book sticks to fairly broad descriptions of how perception, attention, and memory work. A lot of that stuff I was already familiar with, but it was extremely interesting to view it through the lens of magic, and to view magic in light of the science. Also interesting were the discussions of how certain kinds of magic tricks are done, and why the nature of the audience's brains allow them to work. The authors, by the way, are scrupulously careful to label each such explanation with a spoiler warning, according to the magician's code of ethics, which says that no one should learn the secrets of a trick by accident. But, personally, I find that learning how this stuff is done enhances, rather than spoils, my appreciation for the magician's art.

Definitely recommended for people who are interested in human perceptions and/or magic, but want to read something that's not too technical about either subject. ( )
1 vote bragan | Nov 11, 2015 |
Absolutely fascinating look at the ways your brain constructs your perception of reality, and the ways that magic illuminates and manipulates them. Extremely interesting and highly readable. ( )
  oscillate_wildly | May 16, 2015 |
Great book, easy read, neuro-scientists use stage magic (illusions) to explain how the brain perceives (and often
mis-perceives) reality.

SPOILER ALEART: The secrets behind many tricks are revealed, but these are clearly marked in the text, so you can skip them if you which, but that would be missing the point of the book. ( )
  bke | Mar 30, 2014 |
These people named their kid ' Iago ' ( what does neuroscience have to say about that ) { Interesting but despite their claim in the introduction, I doubt this kind of stuff is going to be what solves the problem of consciousness and cracks the neural code. But every bit helps ! ) ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen L. Macknikprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martinez-Conde, Susanamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Blakeslee, Sandrasecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805092811, Hardcover)

"This book doesn't just promise to change the way you think about sleight of hand and David Copperfield—it will also change the way you think about the mind." —Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide and Proust Was A Neuroscientist

Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, the founders of the exciting new discipline of neuromagic, have convinced some of the world's greatest magicians to allow scientists to study their techniques for tricking the brain. This book is the result of the authors' yearlong, world-wide exploration of magic and how its principles apply to our behavior. Magic tricks fool us because humans have hardwired processes of attention and awareness that are hackable—a good magician uses your mind's own intrinsic properties against you in a form of mental jujitsu.

Now magic can reveal how our brains work in everyday situations. For instance, if you've ever bought an expensive item you'd sworn you'd never buy, the salesperson was probably a master at creating the "illusion of choice," a core technique of magic. The implications of neuromagic go beyond illuminating our behavior; early research points to new approaches for everything from the diagnosis of autism to marketing techniques and education. Sleights of Mind makes neuroscience fun and accessible by unveiling the key connections between magic and the mind.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, the founders of the new discipline of neuromagic, have convinced some of the world's greatest magicians to allow scientists to study their techniques for tricking the brain. This book is the result of the authors' yearlong, world-wide exploration of magic and how its principles apply to our behavior. Magic tricks fool us because humans have hardwired processes of attention and awareness that are hackable--a good magician uses your mind's own intrinsic properties against you. Now magic can reveal how our brains work in everyday situations. For instance, if you've ever bought an expensive item you'd sworn you'd never buy, the salesperson was probably a master at creating the "illusion of choice," a core technique of magic. The implications of neuromagic go beyond illuminating our behavior; early research points to new approaches for everything from the diagnosis of autism to marketing techniques and education.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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