Gustav Kuhn: "The Science of Magic" | Talks at Google
Now. Do. You remember the first time you saw a magic trick. That. May have been your uncle making a coin appear, from. Behind your ears or a silly, trick is something like, this I love. Magic and I spent most of my life dedicated. To this weird and wonderful, art, form of deception and illusions, in. The first part of my career I used, magic simply, to entertain people however. In the last part of my life the last 15, years or so I've. Been using magic as a way of understanding the, human brain and I'm the director of the magic lab at Goldsmith's where, we use magic, to study, a wide range, of cognitive functions. And what I'd like to do today is to, give you a little bit of an overview, of some of this research and, explain. How magic, can be used to, investigate, to the human mind and identify, certain, loopholes as well so what we're going to try today is to bring together art magic, and technology. As well, so. Before. We start who, likes magic. Who. Would like to see some magic okay. So this. Is about science, art. And technology. So let me start by performing the oldest, trick in the history of magic, there's known as the cups and balls two, cups, check, out this cup we've. Got another cup for you right here, check out that Cup two little balls check out those balls is that a solid Cup yeah, no trap mirrors no, excellent. What. About this one here any, rabbits, they're, still waiting for that moment and they're. The two balls nothing has happened to those either, two. Cups two. Balls and of course the most important thing my. Magic wand. Oops. Don't. Worry there's always another one just about down, here so, much. Very carefully for the first ball I just waved the magic wand and it's. The. Ball disappears, this, is all about misdirection so. Keep, an eye on the ball I said keep an eye on the ball because the board is still over here so well. Pull her time I just, waved the magic wand that the ball disappears, from my hand flies all the way through the room into, your pocket yeah you bet the stripy show would you mind standing up. Stand up check, deep, inside your pocket know, your trouser pocket sorry the back trouser pocket, but, of course the ball doesn't stop there because it flies all the way back through the room there, you piss back, under. The cup. Now. Now. Watch very carefully how, this ball travels from here to here and likewise this one travels from here to here they. Have both to change places. You're. Clearly not very impressed by this so, one more time snap, my fingers and ball number two doesn't fact travel right over here better, yet. Now. Watch very carefully how the first ball penetrates, this Cup even though these cups are solid.
Oops, It's. A visual illusion it's a trick okay it's not really to trick so one, more time solitaire. Solid ball number two penetrates, these cups, it's. Not too complicated. Yeah. Shall, I simplify things okay. Let, me get rid of one of these balls well actually because it's you I'll get rid of both of them the secret is the ball is still under the cup okay you're gonna have to pay more attention because it goes into my pocket reappears under, my knee goes through the top of the cup I just, snap my fingers and there -, is. That too fast yeah. Don't we slow down we'd. Like to see it in slow motion. Okay. Just for you guys. And. Under, which of the cups would you like the balls to reappear Cup number one or cup number two. Free. Choice one or two. To. Give and change your mind the. Wrong choice because Watchers, or Xia lemon. But. Wait, wait wait wait wait wait wait of course this wasn't pure coincidence because, the chances, of you selecting to cup with the lemon when in fact a hundred, a. Hundred fifty. Thank. You. So. As a scientist. I'm, interested. In the experience of, magic, and the way that magicians, can allow, you to have that experience, now. At this point I'm gonna be completely honest with you I don't have supernatural powers, I can't, do real magic, and what. I'm doing instead is I'm hacking your brains and, I'm using, psychological tricks, to, manipulate. Your experience. And doing. So isn't actually that hard because as, we are learning more about how the human brain works we've, come to realize in actual fact all, of your experience. Of the outside world as well, as of yourself, is really, a very elaborate. Illusion. And it's, an illusion, that we often, mistake for reality, and so, as magicians, all, we are really doing is, pointing. Out this discrepancy, between reality. And this. Illusion. And. What I'd like to do now is have. A look at some of these illusions. To explore, why magic, works. As. A psychologist, I think of magic, gas creating. Conflicts. In our, mind it creates a conflict between different belief, systems on, the. One hand it, creates a conflict between the, things that you believe did be possible, and the, things that you've just experienced. So, let's think back to. The, cups and balls here, you. All know that lemons, can't materialize. Out of nothing, and yet. Of course that's just what you've experienced. As, the magic is about conflict. And we can create this, conflict, by, exploiting. Some rather surprising. Psychological. Illusions. Now. How many of you would like to make a rabbit to disappear. Yeah. Should we try. Sheba, tribe okay now, you've all got a piece of paper on your, phone, you're on your seats. And on. That piece, of paper can I just borrow one because I don't have one can I just borrow this one here so.
Got A piece of paper we've. Got a, top. Hat with a rabbit inside and, we've got a cross, what. I'd like you to do is hold out the piece of paper close. One eye close. The left eye keep, your eye on that cross, and, then. Gradually, bring the piece of paper closer, to you don't move your eyes and at some point that rabbit will disappear for me is gone all right here, it's. Gone as, soon as I move my eyes of course it comes back but if I look at that cross that, rabbit has disappeared, you'll. Get the illusion. How. Many who are a little bit disappointed, yeah. Okay. I didn't. They say the magic was, great, but. The. Explanation. As, to why it works, I thought, if I find really mind-boggling. So. Let's try and have a look at why, disillusion. Works and to do so we need to understand, some of the limitations of, the hereafter, of the human visual system, this. Is a diagram of the eye a very simple diagram of the eye and we've got the world outside here, which is scientists, and of course this image is projected through. The lens onto the back of our eye which is known as the retina which is covered in thousands. Of little photoreceptors. That encode all of the visual information and, then, send it through the optic nerve to different parts of the visual cortex. Now. The human eye is one of the most amazing. Organs. But, there's a massive design, flaw can you spot it, anybody's. You're, all you're all designers what's, the big design, flaw. The. Gap for the nerve so, for. Some reason we. Chose the wrong evolutionary. Path and what this means is that actually all of the nerve fibers have to leave the. Retina, at one particular point which is this point here and as, this bundle of nerves has to leave the retina it means we can't actually have any photoreceptors. On there so. What this means is, that any. Information that is projected onto, that, optic nerve which was known as the blind spot. Will. Disappear, because. We've never encoded, it in the first place, and, so what happens, in this illusion, is that if, you get the distance, right, that. Rabbit, projects. Onto, that blind spot and that's, why it disappears. But. Here's. The truly surprising thing, how many of you noticed this blind spot, we. Don't we're. Completely, oblivious to it and yet, it's clearly there close. One I have a look around the room Taron spotted, you, can't spot it we. Know it's there I've given, you the fizz I've told, you about the physiology you've. Experienced. It and yet, you're completely, oblivious to it and so. This is one of many, blind, spots that, magicians. Try to exploit. But. There's. Much bigger ones. How. Many of you snow 'test your own eyes move. You. Can't, I'll. Set you can watch everybody, else as you can see everybody else's eyes move but you'll never be able to spot your own eyes move and try, it after this talk go to the toilet or home, stand, in front of the mirror. Look. At one side of the mirror and then move your eyes to the other side like in the saccadic, movement, trying. To spot your eyes move you can't if you can send, me an email of pay a thousand, pounds, okay you can't and, the reason why we can't see our eyes move is because the visual system shuts. Down during, each of these eye movements, is known as psychotic suppression, and. From an engineering point of view of course that makes a lot of sense because the eyes move very rapidly and if you want to take a picture with, a fast moving camera, you get a blurry image so, pretty low quality information, which is useless, and so rather than actually encoding, all of that information our visual, system simply, shuts down for about a hundred milliseconds which, is a tenth of a second, during each of these eye movements. But. Do you notice this. Darkness, or this blindness. We. Don't do we. But. Monster. Actually do the maths it. Turns out that, we, are blind for, a large portion of the day, let's. Do a bit of maths we. Are blind for about ten milliseconds. Per eye. Movement, and we are move our eyes a lot we move our eyes about three times per second, which, means that we move our eyes about a hundred, and fifty thousand, times, each. Day. Multiply. 100, milliseconds, by a hundred, and fifty thousand, that means we, are blind for four hours, per day which, basically means a quarter.
Of Your daily life you are not encoding, any visual, information and, you are living in darkness. But. As of. Is the browser with the blind spot, it's a darkness, that you are oblivious, of I mean isn't it amazing that a quarter. Of our day, even. Now is you're trying to pay attention to what I'm saying actually a quarter, of that information has never, been encoded in the first place, but. Of course these. Are all interesting, facts. And they're interesting. Phenomena but in terms of performing magic they're not that useful I mean if I go, to you okay, look at my finger, here I get, it exactly, right I could make that lemon disappear. But, that'd be a pretty rubbish magic. Trick. Luckily. For the magician, we've got lots of other techniques. And loopholes that we can exploit, and the biggest one is attention, and this is what I'd like to dedicate. The next demonstration. To, so um. Can, you all see this table here how many of you can do most of you see if you can't see it on the back maybe just stand up it's, not very long just, a back row because. You will. Yeah. It's. Pretty quick can. You all see the table yeah, you, ready okay. Gone. How. Many did not see how the lighter disappeared. Most. Of you do, you want to see it again. Has. Anyone another lighter. Now. I've. Got another one just about here so I'm, going to do exactly the same thing again. Okay. Two things remember, that ah okay. This is important. So, um what. I'm doing here is I'm manipulating. Your mister your, attention, so I'm using this direction. To prevent you from seeing something that's, happening right in front of your eyes so I'm, using lots of different types, of cues on my gaze these social, cues where, I'm looking are very, important, in driving attention. So I'm looking, at the lighter we've got a bright spark, this bright spark, will automatically. Capture. Your attention I'm using, movement, and put it together with. The social cue so where I'm looking everything. Put together this, is the moment when I want you to, not. Attend here so I'm throwing, everything at it we've got sound again sound will capture your attention movement. Social, cues put together that, will hopefully prevent, you from seeing, this drop, now. I said, that the gasp is, really, important, because. What's. Interesting here, is that it's, not a real magic trick we just used this to study, misdirection. Because of course the magician wouldn't be stupid enough to do this right in front of your eyes but we can use this to try, and scientifically. Study, misdirection. To get closer insight, into why. You fail, to see certain things but, possibly see others. But. As I started, off saying magic. Is all about creating, a cognitive, conflict and the conflict here. Is ready to discrepancy. Between the, amount that you believe you will see and. What you'll actually see because most of you will think well surely, I should be able to see this I mean this is a very very bright light, so you think well surely, I should be able to see this because this is happening right in front of your eyes and. Yet. If. Your, attention, has being misdirected. Or the strap. You're simply, oblivious to seeing, these types of things. Now. We, use eye tracking to, study, a lot, of these phenomenas, because, by studying eye movements, we can actually gain really, interesting. Insights, into both, what, people are attending to and also, why they may miss other things, and what I'd like to do now this is really an.
Experiment. And. Magicians. Tell you they gonna do an experiment they're not sure what it's going to work or not they're lying because they'll always know it's good work this is real science I don't know whether this is actually going to work or not especially. With the screens. But. What I'd like to do is just to give you a little demonstration of, how we measure this in the lab and what I so let me just switch. Screens. Around, I just have to, the. Application, is a little, bit. Fussy. So. Hopefully, this will work so. What. I have here is an. Eye tracker and again, what do you mind helping me out. So. This. Is the eye tracker, and. The way that it works is that we've, got two cameras, so. We've got one camera here, which is the scene camera so that we'll see, what. The person is looking at and then would. You mind just putting this on like a pair of glasses. Great. And then. We've got another camera. Right. Here. Which. Is filming. Yawns eye and, you can just about see this, behind, the. Behind. The interface. That's, okay so, what. The itraq is now doing, is using, an algorithm to, work out at the center, of yawns, pupil, and we, can then work out the, rotation. Of the. Actual eye within. The eye sockets but, that doesn't really tell us what yan is looking, at and so to do so we need to calibrate so. Yan what i'm going to do is i'm gonna show you some dots on. The, screen. Actually, can send right in front of it just look at the dots for me and, what's happening, now is, that yawns. I, rotation. Is calibrated. To different, dots or different object. At the different places in space. And, if. The calibration, works successfully. Now. We should be able to tell where yan is looking now again, in the lab I would do this much more carefully I'm simply doing this as a demonstration Yin you can look at me now yeah, and so there red dot. That. Is. What. Yan is looking at and so what we can do now is I can do some magic. Too. To. Work out what, Yan is is, attending. To and we use that to study misdirection, thank you very much yeah that's, great you can just take it off again very, carefully they're very very expensive. So. So. By. Using eye-tracking. But. Using eye-tracking we. Can try, and work out, not. Only what. You're attending to but also why. You don't see things and some of these results have been truly, astonishing, in that. Ensure, tearfully, we believe that if. We're looking at something we, should be able to see this and, to saying. I won't believe it in I'll see it with my own eyes, and, yet a lot of this research on, misdirection. Has, shown that where. You look doesn't necessarily. Matter in that we often have instances, where people actually looking, at the lighter or something else, and yet, they still don't see it so you can actually be looking at something and yet. You. Simply, don't see it and of course the reason why they don't see it is because their, mental capacity or. We call this covert, attention. Has been misdirected, or, distracted. And. Of course this has got really. Important, real world implications. So. Some of you may remember a few years ago a, small, company, trying to develop some, glasses, that.
Would, Allow you to, check, your messages, and, other updates. Whilst. You're doing stuff, in that you're. Not distracted because of course you can keep your eyes on the task, whilst. Checking, your facebook, status or. Your Google accounts, or I think, they're called Google glasses, or were called Google glasses. Now. This. Is a truly, terrifying, on such a bad idea because. What. The research, and attention is illustrating. Is that the. Distraction, doesn't result from, you not looking, in the right place you can. Be looking at the road in front of you and yet. Of course if your covert attentions, are these are all the other attentional, processes. Have been distracted. You, simply, won't be able to see it now. They Maury Google's not the only company got this wrong there's, lots of research now showing that driving. While talking to someone on a hands-free, set, is just as, dangerous as, it is driving. With a handheld set because. Of course the assumption, that when, you're driving and, you fiddling around your phone but that's. The. Probably is not you taking, your eyes off the road the, problem, is that your attention, has been distracted. And you need again lots of studies have now shown that actually driving, whilst talking to someone on a hands-free set is as, dangerous as, driving was being legally, drunk and. Yet. We're. Not aware, of these. Limitations. And. To bring it back to the point I tried to make earlier, really with by magic, works magic, works it's because we oblivious, to a lot of these limitations. But, by studying them scientifically, that. Can really help us get important, insights, into why. How the mind works. So. So far I've Illustrated that. You're far less aware, of your surroundings, then many, of you may have thoughts. Let. Me now turn to the point of how reliable. The information is. That you're actually seeing. Have. A look at this image here what do you see a. Rabbit. A duck. Some. Of you a rabbit some. Of you a duck, if. You're lucky you can switch the image from a rabbit to an duck this. Is an interest, this group of interesting, figures which are known as by stable images, because, what, this illustrates is there are some pointers you can you can have the same visual. Information out, there and yet, you can actually perceive it as being something completely different and, of course the reason why this works. Is because, perception. Or the eyes they capture a lot of the information but perception happens. In the brain perception. Is a massive, problem, solving, process, where your brain is trying to make sense of the world and so what you are seeing is related. To how you interpret. All of this information so. Let, me give you a couple of examples where this can go wrong have, a look at these two tables which of these tables looks wider there's one on the left or the one on the right. The. One on the right, yeah but an actual far they're exactly the same and I can illustrate this by removing some of the context, I'm going to get rid of the legs I'm just.
Rotating It's, I'm not changing the shape and they are actually exactly, the same exactly the same shape. However. Once I adds the context. You will experience. Them as being of a different shape you'll get that illusion yeah. And, even if you know it it's still, you can't fight it because it's, your brain trying, to make sense do. You all remember this image, an, image that almost broke the internet, and of course people, were really surprised, by, the idea, that some people see. This as black and others, as gold. Who sees as black he. Sees gold. Yeah. Now. This, may seem surprising but, of course even simple, things such as color, well, that's just a psychological, construct. It's your brain making, stuff, up and again I can illustrate this as more of a group experience, I know that color dress is very divisive because you can't really switch but. Let me just reconcile. Reconcile, this by um show you this lovely allusion by beau lotto what's. The color of dis square down here. Orange. What about the one up here, brown. Exactly. The same and. Again I can illustrate this, by removing, the context, so I'm just masking. Parts, of this image. The more we masks and, you can see that they're physically, exactly, the same, once. I add the context. Again you, can see that they are experiences being very, different, and, so, even. A simple, constructors. Color which we take for granted we, think well surely there's such a sort of like such a such, a low-level property. And yet of course the way that you experience color, relate. Is, influenced. By the way you actually, interpreting. This. However. Let me now show, you one of my favorite, allusions and again here the magic trick is not quite as good as the actual explanation itself. But hopefully this will still work can. Yours can you all see me here. Okay. Now. This is known as the vanishing ball illusion, and it's illusion that was first studied by a guy called Norman, Triplett in 1900. And this is the way it's done it's not again it's not really a proper magic trick I simply, just throw the ball once twice. And on the final throw I pretend, to throw it when I actually keep his secretly pumped inside my hand, now. Back in 1900. Norman triple of Triplett, noticed, that, he performed this in front of kids and about two-thirds. Of the kids claimed, that the ball moved up and then disappeared, somewhere up here how many of you to get that got that yeah. If you. If. You did some video about two-thirds. Of participants. Actually claimed to see a ball moving up and then leaving the, top of the screen. Now. This is a truly astonishing illusion. Because of course what's happening here is you are seeing something, that, has not happened. So. Why this is illusion work, and. Again as I, promised, I think the explanation is, far. More astonishing, than the actual trick itself, but again to understand, this we need to gain some insights, into how the visual system works. So. Here. Is a diagram of the human visual system we've, got the eyes which is what we've already looked at before and the eyes capture. All of the visual information and, then, send it along, different. Neural, pathways. The visual cortex. Now. Of. Course processing. Information, takes time and so as you can see here this is an animation. Illustrating. How visual information is, sent, through two different neural centers to the visual cortex which is located, back here which, is responsible for your ability to be able to perceive things, and. Neural. Processing, is not instantaneous, so it takes like this is a conservative.
Estimate It, takes about a, tenth. Of a second or a hundred milliseconds, for. Information. To travel, from the eye to. The primary visual cortex which, is the first visual, area, responsible, for your view of your visual perception a tenth. Of a second. Think. About this. What. Does this mean. Well. Of course what. It means is that by, the time you've, seen something. It's. Already happened. It's. A bit like when, you're watching a thunderstorm. You've. Got the lightning and the Thunder. Happening, at the same time and, yet of course because, the. Sound travels much slower than light you. Perceive, the. Thunder as occurring. After the, lightning and that's. The same for vision. So. By, the time you've, actually seen, something, you're. Already in the past. Now. You might think well a tenth of a second is not that much as I'm, walking here, this is about I'm, walking, at about one meter per second, a tenth. Of a second delay, implies. That, the world should be lagging about, a tenth about. Ten centimeters, behind. Me yeah. Of course I'm not experiencing. This. Let's. Do something else catch. Amazing. You. Can you can thanks. You can applaud me as well because no of. Course I'm not being sarcastic here. Because it's truly, astonishing, the fact that you can actually catch something, if your, perception is in, the past some. Of you as you're leaving this building and walking through King's Cross station it's. Lots of people there but you don't bump into them a, delay. Like that would assume that you should be assured people amping into people constantly and seeing everything in the past lay low and being able to catch something because. That's not only the neural delay for you to actually perceive something your, brain also a house to plan an action to, anticipate the, actual catching, it's. Truly, phenomenal and, of, course the way that the brain does this is by predicting. The future. So. Your visual system is continuously. Predicting. The, future, and what this means is that what, you're actually seeing us and now is not the nail, but. Is what your brain is, predicting. The future to be and, so, you are literally. All seeing. The future and, it's a small part. But. You are seeing the, future that's what your brain is doing. So. The reason why the vision, vanishing ball illusion. Works is because all of our perceptual, experiences. Are based on prediction, and of course here I'm just fooling you you're, expecting. That the ball should be moving up and that's. Why you are actually seeing this so. Some ways you're behaving like a dog when you pretended, to throw a stick and the, dog runs and you go hide stupid, dog. We. Are just the same, it's. Just we generally. Oblivious. To a lot of these illusions. Now. I appreciate, that so far, this. May not be a feel-good, talk, okay but let's try and end on a positive, message. Now. It's easy for us to think of being, tricked by magic, tricks as, illustrating.
Just How stupid, you, are but that's the wrong way to think about this because. Of, course what. This illustrates is. That our, brain has evolved, very, clever algorithms. And shortcuts. To, process, information if, you think about engineering I'm it's lovely being here Google you know all about this brief. Evolution, of the phone of course what engineers, have managed to do is pack more and more processing. Resources into, smaller and smaller devices. Which. Allows, you to carry. Out far higher, computations. Now. With the human brains we've reached a limit there zone East we can't we, can't put, any more neurons, into, our brain we've got dis. Constraints. Really, into how densely, we can pack neurons, into, our brain and so there's. Two, solutions really. Either. We, would grow. These huge heads. That. Our bodies would probably almost fail, to support or. We. Come up with clever algorithms. And shortcuts, to. Reduce the computational pressures. On our human brain and, luckily. For us dusty, roots that evolution. Has actually chosen and so rather, than processing. All of the information, out there we've. Developed, highly efficient. And really clever, attentional. Processes. That allow you to simply process the information that's needed at this point in time and, these are very valuable strategies. Because they help you in all of your updates and, all of your everyday tasks, but of course that, leaves it open to manipulation and, that's, what magicians do, similarly. If we think about visual, perception, visual perception is such a complex. Process, that. We need to rely on shortcuts. And heuristics, to help us make sense of the world and often we use these shortcuts and most. Of the time they work really well but. Again of course as with any shortcut. It can lead to an error and these are the types of errors that magicians, exploit, and so the fact that we're actually falling. For these illusions, that, doesn't illustrate, that we're stupid, it, just demonstrates how, clever the human brain is. Now. So. Far we've only talked, about, visual. Processing, but of course the, same applies, to all. Other cognitive, processes. As well so. Memory memory. Is very complicated, requires. Lots of resources and although you feel that you trust the things that you remember as we're, learning more about how the human brain works we've realized that actually a lot of your memories are simply reconstructions. Of. Events, in the, way that you believe that they took place and, so just because you've actually remembering, something doesn't mean that that's exactly what you've experienced. And, even, our sense of free will so the sensation, that you have when, an idea pops into your mind like. If we like to think that we are in control over our own thoughts and our own actions, and yet of course all of that is an illusion, as well and again it's an illusion, that magicians, exploit, and. So, if you're interested in these I've just recently written, a book experiencing, the impossible, which is a lot of surprising, conflict of all. There. Was lots of very surprising, insights, into, a lot of these and, not into a lot of these limitations and even. If you don't like magic or you're not interested. In magic I think magic provides a really intriguing, tool, to identify, a lot of these loopholes which, hopefully. Will. Allow you to make better decisions about yourself, but, also about other people as well thank you very much for your attention. Do. You know whether talking to the person in the passenger seat is as dangerous as being drunk yeah, that's a very interesting quote. For. Two reasons, for. One passenger, they, can adapt their behavior, according. To the context, so what's really dangerous about talking someone on a mobile phone is of course the person that you're talking to has no wise idea, about the context that you're finding yourself in whilst, as you coming up to a busy Junction the passenger, will actually, have. The decency to hopefully shut up as, well and, it needs a studies to have actually shown this but. Also actually having a passenger, can give you an additional advantage as, well because they can point out different, dangers as, well and so that mitigates, a lot of distracting effects, so know having a passenger, is not that dangerous similar, could listen to the radio as well isn't, actually in danger doesn't impair your performance, because it's a lot easier for, you to actually zone out of that conversation, has. Your research helped. You design, new tricks, were you able to identify certain, phenomena, that you could then turn into a good magic trick yes.
So I mean a lot of our research you, really use this magic as a way of understanding. The human brain and where most of it is focusing, on finding, other forms, of application, but more recently we've actually started to use a lot of these scientific principles, to, improve magic, as, well and I think although, magicians. Know. How. These principles, work. They don't know or, they don't they know of the principles, that work they don't necessarily know, why they, work and a lot of this can give us insights, into, creating. Better magic tricks so for example the vanishing ball illusion, I would. Never thought of this as being a very effective magic, trick because, of course if you do it again it. Just doesn't work for you, so I'm not fooled and so I'm assuming that everybody else isn't fooled and yeah, of course actually by exploiting a lot of these loopholes you can create more powerful techniques, similar, with this lighter trick, here I mean, as I say it's not a magic trick because it's just using the principles. Because here we've, developed, something that is visible, it doesn't there's, no good and studying stuff that where, everybody is fooled where interest in developing things where nobody, is fooled we're, about half the people are fooled, but what a lot of this research is showing that people are far more oblivious. To their, surroundings, than we would intuitively believe. And what this means is the ashes magicians we, can often get away with developing, much braver, and bolder, techniques. So. Yeah I think this is a I see this very much as a two-way process. What's. Your stance on, magicians. Who claim, to have actual, magic powers oh that's. A very interesting, one. We've. We've. Been running a research project, for, about, six years now where, we, try to understand, magical. Beliefs. Because. Magic. Has played a very important, role in, pushing. The boundaries, of what people believe to be possible and there are lots of magicians, I mean I'll call the magicians, or fraudsters who use, magic, tricks to claim that they've got real real powers and so we've, been studying this by. Staging. Seances. And staging. Spiritualist. Experiences. For our students, our Goldsmith's, we, get a magician, in who then claims, to be reading, someone's mind and contacting, the dead and the. Results have been truly, astonishing, and they're actually, a lot of our participants genuinely. Believe that this is real and. So you, think that living in a world that's dominated, by science a technology, these magical beliefs should be disappearing, yet they clearly don't it doesn't take that much to actually elicit them but. That's only one side. There's. Also of. Course a lot of magicians who, use, pseudo. Scientific explanations. In their work so, for, example Darren Brown I mean their own brand is one of my favorite magicians, but. Rather. Than claiming that he's reading, your mind he, will claim. That he's priming. People's behavior. Or reading their body language or, using, other types of cues which. In most instances, is. Not actually, true and I think that's where we get into. Really. Dangerous, territory. Because. Again. We've done research showing that actually. Experiencing. These types of magic performances. Changes people's beliefs and what is possible and so a lot of these pseudo scientific explanations. I think, have fueled a lot of our lisanne NLP. And are the fringe sciences, as, well and what's, really astonishing, but a lot of this research that we've been doing is that telling. People, you're. Seeing a magician, perform, verses, you're seeing a real psychic, has very little impact, on how they interpret, what they're seeing so we've got people what we tell me you're seeing a magician, and need to still believe that it's real and. For. Me this has got wider implication. As well if we think about fake news as, well because what this really illustrates is, that even. If you know something, is false. In the context of a magic trick you know when, I'm performing the cops and balls we've, gotten them we've got this implicit contract, and that is OK for me to lie to you expect, me to lie, to. You and yet, even if you know that, you're being lied to even if you know that the information that you are actually receiving is, false, that can still have a significant, impact on people's beliefs, so. It's, a big yeah, it's a big research area, that we are we are looking at at the moment and the.
Results I found really truly worrying. Just. Because of people's difficulty, and distinguishing between magic. And reality. Yep. Have. You done any research on hypnosis and, what do you think about that. Yeah. Indirectly. Hypnosis. Are really interesting, for a topic. Or not which, is why I dedicated a whole chapter in my book discussing. Hypnosis, because of course, hypnosis. Is one of these strange. Forms, of mind, control. And. A. Kind. Of results are really very astonishing lots of controversies, in terms of the actual theories, but what is very clear is that hypnosis can effectively be used to give you to, illicit behaviors, that you are not consciously, aware, of. So. Yeah it's a very powerful it's a very powerful technique, but again a bit like magic, it's, one of these areas, where. You've. Got a lot of pseudo-sciences. Feeding, into, research, on hypnosis and there's often actually quite hard to distinguish, between fact, and fiction within. That. Is. There big difference in the way kids and adults appositive magic. Yes. There is. If, we think about magic, I mean and for two different reasons, as I, explained, at the beginning I, think, of magic as being about this conflict, in beliefs and. So. It's the conflict between what you believe to be possible and what you're experiencing. Is of course the, way that you experience magic. Is influenced, by what you believe is possible so, it, relies on you, having a certain understanding about the. World if you don't have that understanding, then. You won't experience, the magic and I mean just anecdotally, I know from my kids I've done a lot of experiments, I'm like it's. When. They're really. Young up, about around about a 1, or so if I would make an. Object disappear my. 1 year old she was really not interested, in that because of course it doesn't create this conflict, like to be you need a sense of object permanence II to understand, that actually just because you're not seeing something, objects. Are still hanging around so if you don't have that well, you don't experience that you don't, experience the, magic and so, on, the one level your, experience, of magic depends, on these beliefs and that's, not just related. To children but also for individual differences as well so if you've got someone who genuinely believes, that mind-reading, is possible, if I'm reading your mind then, that doesn't create that conflict. But. Also on a second level as we saw in this talk our perception, of the world relies. On how you interpret the, world so that relies and lots of different problem-solving, and since, we all perceive the world very, differently, means, that we all experience magic, differently, as well and so children have, got a different visual experience, of the world and adults and so they again will actually be a will be receiving. Receiving. Magic differently. That's. Predictions, we have got some research on misdirection. On children, and the explanations, that children, give. But. That be might yet that be my predictions. Have. You tried magic, on animals. I personally. Haven't, but if. You google. Magic. And animals isn't really there's, some amazing, viral, video clips and there's one I don't know if you've seen it on a monkey or. Monkey. Is a chimp. Where. A ball disappears, and the reactions, are really really.
Astonishing, So I think I personally I personally, haven't but. I think, it'd be a fascinating, research, area. Seeing. How animals. Behave. Thank. You. You.