Monday, October 26, 2009 at 03:59PM
Dodd Vickers

Eric Mead is described as a "mind reader" in a USA Today article "Neuroscientists: Why is the brain deceived as if by magic?" Speaking at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago, Eric said that he relies on the fallibility and malleability of human memory to "read minds" and create illusions. "I have techniques to change their memory," he says. 

Magicians are able to trip up watchers without them knowing it, which the scientists say allows for purer research results.

"Magicians basically do the same things we try to do in the lab but they do it on stage for thousands of people. It's an incredibly robust version of what we're doing in the lab," Macknik says.

While magicians aim to exploit flaws of the human brain to provide entertainment, Macknik and Martinez-Conde say neuroscientists want to learn about the underlying brain-cell activity involved behind the dupe. Taking functional MRIs of brains as subjects witness an illusion could help them identify people who have attention and memory problems, Martinez-Conde says.


Article originally appeared on The Magic Newswire (
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