What can magic tell us about ourselves and our daily lives? If you subtly change the subject during an uncomfortable conversation, did you know you're using attentional 'misdirection', a core technique of magic? And if you've ever bought an expensive item you'd sworn never to buy, you were probably unaware that the salesperson was, like an accomplished magician, a master at creating the 'illusion of choice'.
Leading neuroscientists Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde meet with magicians from all over the world to explain how the magician's art sheds light on consciousness, memory, attention, and belief. As the founders of the new discipline of NeuroMagic, they combine cutting-edge scientific research with startling insights into the tricks of the magic trade. By understanding how magic manipulates the processes in our brains, we can better understand how we work - in fields from law and education to marketing, health and psychology - for good and for ill.
Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde (husband and wife) are laboratory directors at the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) in Phoenix, Arizona, where they study various aspects of visual, sensory and cognitive neuroscience. Their research has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, New Scientist and Wired magazine. Sandra Blakeslee is a science correspondent at the New York Times.