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
Exciting … novel and fascinating observations.”
—Dan Ariely, author of Predictability Irrational
I’ve long wished for a book that explained the art of magic from the cognitive neuroscience perspective. Magic is a goldmine of information about the brain, as well as a source of fascination. This is the book we’ve all been waiting for.”
—Steven Pinker PhD, author of The Stuff of Thought
Every professional magician will tell you that any great magic trick is 90% based on psychology. This groundbreaking book explores the convergence of magic & neuroscience and educates the reader in seemingly unrelated subjects in a way that is educational and entertaining.”
—Lance Burton, Magician
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
Sleights of Mind gives non-magicians a real up-close look at the true secrets of magic. They are revealing the real knowledge jealously guarded by all great performers.”
—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
Sleights of Mind is a terrific read. Combining science and magic is not an easy trick, but the authors have done a brilliant job of putting a mirror up to ourselves and our psyches. I loved it.”
—Joe Navarro, author of What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-reading People
Sleights of Mind will be loved by anyone wanting to know who they really are, why they make the choices they do, and how to live a better life. Macknik and Martinez-Conde pull rabbits out of hats over and over & their show is one I can’t wait to watch!”
—Mahzarin Banaji, Ph.D., Harvard University
A ground-breaking exploration of the uncharted territory where science and magic intersect. Anybody interested in magic is going to be interested in this book.”
— Joshua Jay, author of MAGIC: The Complete Course; youngest winner of the World Magic Championship
This book is a wonderful idea, and Macknik and Martinez-Conde are right on the money. The concept is wholly original and will undoubtedly be highly influential in cognitive science and with the public.”
—Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D., author of Human
How does a Magician direct your attention, reframe your memories, and temporarily alter your reality? Sleights of Mind offers a glimpse into the neuroscience of magic & secret principles that may unlock questions about how our minds really work.”
—Apollo Robbins, Speaker, Entertainer, Consultant
Neuroscientists Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, the founders of the exciting new discipline of NeuroMagic — and also members of the Magic Castle, Magic Circle, International Brotherhood of Magicians, and the Society of American Magicians — have convinced some of the world’s greatest magicians to allow scientists to study their techniques for tricking the brain. Magic tricks work because humans have a hardwired process of attention and awareness that is hackable—a good magician uses your mind’s own intrinsic properties against you in a form of mental jujitsu. By understanding how magicians hack our brains, we can better understand how the same cognitive tricks are at work in advertising strategy, business negotiations, and all varieties of interpersonal relations. When we understand how magic works in the mind of the spectator we will have unveiled the neural bases of consciousness itself.
Sleights of Mind is the result of the authors’ multi-year, world-wide exploration of magic and how its principles apply to our behavior. 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.
Stephen L. Macknik, Ph.D., is Director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.
Susana Martinez-Conde, Ph.D., is Director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience at BNI.
Sandra Blakeslee is a regular contributor to “Science Times” at The New York Times who specializes in the brain sciences, and the author of several books.