Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sleights of Minds; What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About our Everyday Deceptions

A delightful new book called Sleights of Mind What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About our Everyday Deceptions by Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinex-Conde with Sandra Blakeslee is a fun and very informative romp through ever accelerating science of our brains. The authors Stephen Macknik PhD and Susana Martinez-Conde PhD are both neuroscientists at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix Arizona. Sandra Blakeslee is the author of several very good science books and regular contributor to the Science Times section of the New York Times. Stephen and Susan are also members of the Academy of Magical Arts, the Magic Circle, Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. They talk about some of my favorite magicians like the Amazing Randi, Penn and Teller, among others. They do talk about how some, but not all, magic tricks are done. But that is not the purpose of this book. It's real reason is to explain how our biases, and intrinsic way our brains work can be used by magicians to fool us and how it we fool ourselves. Like the illusion of choice or trust gave Bernie Madoff the ability to swindle millions from others. How religion, deception of spy services work. The illusion of magic occurs only in our brains. It gives one an appreciation of the place of rational thinking, the short cuts our brains (hence our minds) take and deep mystery that we as humans are only just now beginning to take to understand ourselves. I recommend the book.
Peace Skeptical DoDo

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