Magic and Science article needs to reevaluate an argument

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Postby rkosby » 05/31/10 01:34 AM

I have no opinion on whether investigating the science of magic is misguided, but Peter Lamont's assertion:

"psychologists researching change blindeness have focused on how a significant change in the scene is not noticed from one moment to the next, whereas magicians are primarily concerned with how to maximize the perception of a change in the scene (since the more vivid the vanish, appearance, or transformation of an object, the better the trick)"

seems flawed. I think magicians are also interested in how a significant change is missed when it comes to discrepancies.

Ray
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/31/10 08:49 AM

Agreed that magicians are concerned with how big a change can fly by unnoticed for how long as part of method. I got the feeling he was conflating method and effect design issues.
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Postby Gregory Edmonds » 06/25/11 01:57 PM

I wrote a short review of Stephen Macknik's and (his wife) Susana Martinez-Conde's book "Sleight of Mind" on a mentalism forum several months back.

While the book is interesting, I then took umbrage with the authors' (and in his current Genii Magazine review, David Britland's) assertion that the good doctors "coined" the term "neuromagic," after conducting interviews and experiments with magicians over the previous year.

To the best of my knowledge, it was in fact I who coined the term in print, and have made reference to it many times over the last 30 years. In at least one of my instruction booklets written in the early 1990s, I talk about my "upcoming" collected works, entitled "NeuroMagical Presentations - Exercises in Psychic Illusion." On an older form of the Psychic Entertainers Association's online forum, I believe I made reference to the term several times as well. I designed a working cover (incorporating the NeuroMagical term) for the book, in the mid-1980s.

While our use of the term is, of course, broadly related by topic, my work (should it ever be published, due to my declining health) focuses more on, as the title suggests, "presentations." I will, however, mention neurological facts as they relate to deception in the (again, proposed) work. The book is intended to feature my best works (according to Barrie Richardson, Christopher Carter and a few others) in the areas of mentalism, stage hypnosis and "seance" or "bizarre" pieces.

In an unrelated matter, in his July, 2011 "Genii Speaks" column, Richard talks about the entertaining bits of Walt Disney actually performing (Thayer, as it happens) magic tricks on one of his early TV appearances. I've mentioned elsewhere (as Richard does) that one can view the entire Disney magical performance today by purchasing the "Disney Gold Classic" version of the animated film, "The Sword in the Stone." What Richard doesn't reference, and what many magicians are likely unaware of, is the fact that Walt and his then-best friend, upon collecting enough money for some props, actually set out to become full-time professional magicians (the "sleight-of-hand, magical props" variety), before Walt got into animation full-time.

The pair were miserable failures as magicians, and after just a few weeks, sold off the tricks, and went their separate ways (for the interim, anyway). Walt's fascination with all things magical is, of course, clearly evident in all of his works, parks and show themes over the years.

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Postby Chris Aguilar » 06/25/11 01:59 PM

It's a pretty lame term no matter who coined it.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/25/11 04:34 PM

In sciences relevant to the study of what effects what we magicians call "effect" one discusses experimental design and findings where half the participants will notice that * or what's called a just noticeable difference.

Then we get folks who willfully ignore what's to found in the NLP books but often go on about how a sufficiently engaging performer can take any trick and have it play as a miracle for an audience - utterly missing the conflation of issues.

Who'd deluding who(m)?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/25/11 09:19 PM

Neuromagic and derived terms go back to at least the mid 1970s:
HERE
HERE
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Postby Gregory Edmonds » 06/26/11 07:23 PM

Thanks for the correct information, Bill. While I MAY have mentioned my proposed book title as far back and the mid to late 1970s, I feel sure I didn't put it in print. That said, it appears the examples you sited trumped me by at least a few years. As long as I've been in the "magic world," you'd think I'd have learned by now that nothing is original.

Chris, while I won't agree the term is necessarily "lame," it's apparent it could be at the very least confusing. Maybe I'll change the book name to something like "brainomagical presentations. Then again, maybe not.

Greg
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