The Neuroscience of Magic

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Despite having a background in science, I am remarkably susceptible to magic tricks: there's something about them that draws me in. But there's more to it than me being stupid, as this video about the neuroscience of magic explains.

Turns out, as Luigi Anzivino describes, our brains just aren't cut out for following both a method and effect simultaneously. Each time we swap attention from one to the other—from working out how a magician is doing something to what we're actually seeing happen—our ability to work out what's going on decreases. As he puts it:

"As far as the brain is concerned, there is no such thing as multi-tasking"

Proof, if it were needed, that I'm not that gullible after all. The moral of the story—or at least, the moral I'm taking away—is that it's better to let magic wash over me without analysing it. That way, it's more fun. [IFTF via Boing Boing]