Synopses & Reviews
Have you ever wondered how a magician saws a woman in half? Or makes coins materialize out of thin air? Or reads your mind? Magic tricks work because humans have a hardwired process of attention and awareness that is hackable. A good magician uses your mind's intrinsic properties against you in a form of mental jujitsu, to fool you every time, even when you know full well that you are being tricked.
Now Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, the founders of the exciting new discipline of neuromagic, have convinced some of the world's greatest magicians to reveal their techniques for tricking the brain. This fascinating book is the result of the authors' worldwide exploration of magic and how its ancient principles can now be explained using the latest discoveries of cognitive neuroscience.
The secrets behind magic tricks reveal how your brain works not just when watching a magic show but in everyday situations. For instance, if you've ever found yourself paying for 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. By popping the hood on your brain as you are suckered in by sleights of hand, Macknik and Martinez-Conde unveil the key connections between magic and the mind, and along the way make neuroscience more exciting and accessible than ever before.
The result of an extensive exploration of magic, this book by the founders of the exciting new discipline of neuromagic shows how the principles of magic apply to our everyday behavior.
About the Author
Stephen L. Macknik earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University, led his first laboratory at University College London, and is currently a laboratory director at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. His research and scientific outreach activities have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, NPR, and Der Spiegel, among others. He is a board member of Scientific American, in which he has published several feature articles, and he has also been published in Nature, Neuron, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Susana Martinez-Conde completed her Ph.D. in Spain, followed by postdoctoral studies in the Harvard Medical School. She is currently director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Her research focuses on the neurobiology of visual awareness, perception, illusions, and art, and her work has been published in top academic journals as well as in popular science magazines, such as Scientific American. Sandra Blakeslee is a science correspondent at the New York Times who specializes in the brain sciences. She has witnessed firsthand the major developments and discoveries in neuroscience, both in the United States and abroad, for well over twenty years. She has cowritten many books, including the bestselling Second Chances with Judith Wallerstein. She is the third generation in a family of science writers. Lloyd James has been narrating since 1996, has recorded over six hundred books in almost every genre, has earned six AudioFile Earphones Awards, and is a two-time nominee for the prestigious Audie Award. His bestselling and most critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley, Jr., Ben Hur by Lew Wallace, Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitskin, and Mystic Warrior by Tracy and Laura Hickman. Lloyd's background as a performer includes extensive work in classical theater and folk music. He lives in Maryland with his wife and children.