A Study Reveals The Secret of Card Tricks

A Study Reveals The Secret of Card Tricks

A researcher in Canada who moonlights like a magician has just revealed the secret behind card tricks. In the study which he conducted, the Canadian-based researcher reveals how certain contextual factors tend to influence the decisions which are made by people, even though they usually believe that they are picking cards freely.

Jay Olson, the lead author of the study which had its findings published in Consciousness and Cognition, explains that they, “began with a principle of magic that we didn't fully understand: how magicians influence audiences to choose a particular card without their awareness.”

“We found that people tend to choose options that are more salient or attention-grabbing, but they don't know why they chose them.”

The research itself was conducted in two stages. The first stage of the research saw Olson approaching 118 people on University campuses as well as on the streets and asking them to select one card by glancing at one while he flips through a deck of playing cards. The second stage of the study saw the researchers create a computer-based version of the riffle by creating a series of 26 images of cards.

According to the study, spectators might end up being influenced by the personalities of the magician or even the expectation which has been created by the setup as well as the pressure which comes with choosing the right card.

“Magic provides an unusual lens to examine and unravel behavior and the processing of higher brain functions,” says co-author Amir Raz, a former professional magician who holds the Canada Research Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention in McGill's Faculty of Medicine.


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