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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » The exciting new discipline of neuromagic! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

panlives
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"Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions [Hardcover]"
Stephen L. Macknik PHD (Author), Susana Martinez-Conde PHD (Author), Sandra Blakeslee (Author)

amazon reviews:

Review
"Magic is the place where our senses and beliefs fail us in magnificent ways. In this exciting book Stephen, Susana, and Sandra explore what magic and illusions can teach us about our fallible human nature—coming up with novel and fascinating observations."—Dan Ariely, author of Predictability Irrational

"Steve and Susana are two of the most innovative scientists I know. They aren't content to just conduct elegant experiments (although they do plenty of those, too). Instead, they're determined to explore those places where neuroscience intersects the mysterious and the magical, from visual illusions to Vegas card tricks. This book doesn't just 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.

"I've long wished that there was a book that explained the art of magic from the point of view of cognitive neuroscience. Magic is a goldmine of information about the brain, as well as a source of fascination to laypeople. This is the book we've all been waiting for."—Steven Pinker PhD, author of The Stuff of Thought


"This is a highly original book. Science and magic have much in common. They both take seemingly inexplicable events and provide elegantly simple answers that enthrall the observer. The authors have done an admirable job in exploring this idea and also suggest ways in which the two disciplines can cross fertilize each other."—VS Ramachandran MD PhD, author of Phantoms in the Brain

"Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde's Sleights of Mindvâ gives non-magicians a real up-close look at the true secrets of magicvâThey are revealing the real knowledge jealously guarded by all great performers...I know my fellow magicians are all going to be as jazzed as I am to read about how sophisticated magical techniques and state-of-the-art brain science combine."—Mac King, headliner, Harrah's Las Vegas

"In Sleights of Mind, authors Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde persistently remind us that the human mind is a bad data-taking device. And it's this fact that enables the science of magic to exist at all."—Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of The Pluto Files


Product Description
"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.
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
abecarnow
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Current issue of Scientific American Mind (November/December 2010) has an excerpt from the book, page 22.

Abe
panlives
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Thanks for the tip, Abe.

The book is available now from amazon.ca

I received it this past Friday and am already a few chapters in...there is some exceptionally compelling stuff to ponder, challenge and delight.

This is a book that should not be ignored. It is engaging and written in an accessible style.

I think many of us will be surprised by the revelations inside.
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
Gerry Hennessey
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Thank you Abe.


Gerry
"Every discipline effects every other discipline. You can't straighten out the corporation if your closet is a mess" Jim Rohn

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StephenP
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Does it talk about neurofeedback at all? This sounds like one off the beaten path that I'll definitely be checking out.
panlives
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Quote:
On 2010-11-16 12:33, StephenP wrote:
Does it talk about neurofeedback at all? This sounds like one off the beaten path that I'll definitely be checking out.


One of my best buys of the year.

I LOVE this book!
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
sgrossberg
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For those who don't want to read the entire book, here is the book proposal:

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cach......K-QdjEFA
James Alan
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Quote:
On 2010-11-07 14:03, panlives wrote:

I think many of us will be surprised by the revelations inside.


Although I found it fun to read, I actually found the content disappointing. Part of that is probably the fault of the hype on the Amazon review.

Granted, I'm not the target audience. They admit in their epilogue that the intent was to use the exposure of magic secrets as a guise for teaching about science. (A very ironic application of the term gimmick!) Much of the magic they describe really has nothing to do with the science they explain.

Given the amount of research they've done so far (both in the lab and in the magic library), I believe the book was a bit premature. However I'd be very interested to see where their path of study takes them over the coming years.
James Alan

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SleightsOfMind.com
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Thank you for your interest in Sleights of Mind. My name is Steve Macknik and I am a co-author and I'll be happy to answer any of your questions about the book, or about neuromagic in general. @James Alan: your comments were vague about what you found to be premature and/or disappointing. I'd like to address your concerns, but you'll have to be more specific (frankly, you should never criticize in this or any forum without specifics: it's not helpful to anyone). Also, we never said we intend to expose magic in order to elucidate the science. We didn't expose any tricks whatsoever. All secrets, except those of con artists, were hidden behind spoiler alerts, so that nobody would accidentally learn anything they didn't want to know (which is exactly why the major magic organizations subscribe to in their ethics codes). We belong as magician members to the AMA, MC, SAM, and IBM, so we feel we understand these issues well. So please, be more precise, and moreover correct, in your criticism. Having said that, we'd love tonhear what your specific concerns are.
EricDraven
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Quote:
On 2010-11-17 09:18, sgrossberg wrote:
For those who don't want to read the entire book, here is the book proposal:

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cach......K-QdjEFA


thanks Scott!
:)
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Magic Arty
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Hi Steve. I just finished your book. I got it as a Christmas gift. I was wondering about the spoon bending technique and display that was explained, that Tony taught you, which was attributed to Alain Nu. I would love the rest of that routine. Do you know where it is from?
I enjoyed reading your book, and was reminded how throughout history, books that are for the general public explaining magic, always have a section on the optical illusion principals, however seldom go much further explaining the hows and whys they work.
Your book was very informative and entertaining.
I am not sure that hiding the secrets behind spoiler alerts alleviates exposure, but that is only my opinion.

"Also, we never said we intend to expose magic in order to elucidate the science."

I think that James' comment is in reference to last paragraph on pg 259. "We will now reveal one final secret. In a way, we've misdirected you, the reader, at every step. You may have purchased this book to read about magicians and tricks, sleights and secret methods, but all along you've really been learning the fundamental neuroscience at the center of your being."

All in all, I thought it a decent read.

Arthur
atsmagic
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MANOS FRIAS
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Steve, do you know if it will be translation to spanish of this book? I´ve watched an interesting interview with your wife (co-author)in the spanish tv (Mr Punset´s program), and I think your book would be very informative for the spanish magicians (and no magicians too). Thanks in advance.
Antonio
MagicTony
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Hi Arthur. Alain Nu's "Silver Wear" was published in issue #58 of "The Trap Door." I have no idea whether these are still available anywhere! Good luck.

Tony
Matt Pulsar
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This book is a very good read. There are little gems spread through it, I am currently working on a lecture presentation on how being a magician is essentialy human hacking, this book was one of the starting off points for the lecture. The core of the research in this book seems to be that the human experience of reality is always filtered through a spotlight of attention in every sense: ie. touch, sight, hearing, etc... And that we create our world based on how we experience our own personal spotlight. This makes us vulnerable to being hacked. But, it also creates the ability to intensly focus on things. Good stuff...
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Medifro
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I'm giving a presentation about the topic in a Tedx setting in my med school. The book is a great intro to the topic, highly recommended.
barneyfife
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Is it viewable online?

Barney
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Matt Pulsar
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Not yet, if your queerie was directed at me...
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Medifro
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Quote:
On 2012-04-28 23:47, barneyfife wrote:
Is it viewable online?

Barney

There isn't, though if you want an idea on the topic, here's a good talk on it for about 30 mins.

http://fora.tv/2010/11/06/Wonderfest_201......Anzivino
George Hunter
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I recently removed Sleights of Mind from my bookshelf, read it carefully over several days, and am glad I did. I can verify most of the good things already said about it in this and other threads. I learned some things about magic, and even more about the young field of Neuroscience. Several of the field's major insights, such as those around the nature of human attention, are very significant and ought to inform every thoughtful magician and mentalist.

The study may suffer some from what may be a major methodological flaw. The authors interviewed a dozen or so magicians, and were coached by several, but there is little evidence that they read much of the authoritative literature of magic theory. Why is that a possible problem? Turn it around. If a magician merely interviewed some neuroscientists and wrote a book interfacing the two fields, the neuroscientists would complain that you cannot really know the field without knowing the literature. (If they'd known enough of the literature and history of magic, they might not have praised James the Amazing Randi as the "elder statesman for the American magic community!")

Like enthusiastic scholars in many younger fields of knowledge, the authors seem to believe that their field, in its first generation, has at last solved some very long standing, very complex, issues--like whether human free will is real or illusory. (No "spoiler alert" here; you will have to read chapter nine of their book to access their confident answer.)

The authors kind of have it both ways on the "exposure" issue. On the one hand, they say they are not actually engaging in exposure because a "spoiler alert" symbol precedes each exposure; that is like saying that it isn't really exposure if I tell you first that exposure is imminent. At the book's end, however, they drop the game and essentially admit to extensive exposure, and they say (credibly) that the more people know how magic is done the more they will appreciate experiencing it performed well.

The book is usually an interesting read, and the book's enduring contribution will largely be found in chapters three through seven--in which they delineate ways in which neuroscience helps us understand visual, cognitive, multi-sensory, and memory illusions. I plan to reread those chapters several times.

It is not quite a new book any more, but overall it is still very worth commending.

George Hunter
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