Magic and Autism

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
JHostler
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Joined: September 27th, 2008, 8:34 pm

Magic and Autism

Postby JHostler » February 25th, 2018, 8:17 pm

Apologies if this has been posted in the wrong slot... but it's sort of a left-field inquiry inspired by minor events of this evening.

Backstory: A year or two back, I launched a short-lived series of freebie magic PDFs with the request that those finding the material useful (or at least stimulating) contribute to their local autism-related charity. Of course, this was rather selfish (albeit shameless) as my son is on the spectrum.

Tonight, I did some simple but decently-executed coin stuff for the ten-year-old... things I've fooled fairly sharp adults with. Without a hint of deception, Mr. Munchkin immediately and repeatedly zeroed in on exactly where the hidden goods were. He might as well have had X-ray vision. Now, some have posited that this phenomenon is due to an inability to pick up "social cues..." but I think it's much more than that. It seems more closely related to the relative absence of assumption, which is entirely consistent with "thinking in pictures" etc. etc. For example, the apparent action of taking a coin from one hand to the other wasn't assumed to be factual.

Just curious if anyone familiar with formal research on this topic might point me in an informative direction. Fascinating stuff.

Cheers,

John
It's a Firkin great day at http://www.absurdulous.com!

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erdnasephile
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Re: Magic and Autism

Postby erdnasephile » February 25th, 2018, 8:50 pm

Some autistic kids I've known seem to have an incredible talent for attention to detail, often nailing things that somehow slipped by me. I wonder if that ability may help these particular kids sense things the rest of us miss.

I'm not an expert on this branch of medical literature, but I did find a few articles which might give you a starting point in your search.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2677592/

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3 ... ode=ipdr20

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4351568/

I'm sorry I couldn't find more. Good luck!

Bob Farmer
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Re: Magic and Autism

Postby Bob Farmer » February 25th, 2018, 9:02 pm

Generally, I think children are hard to fool. Perhaps they haven't formed an ego that tells them what they should think, assume and conclude. Maybe autism exaggerates this.

JHostler
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Re: Magic and Autism

Postby JHostler » February 25th, 2018, 9:20 pm

Thanks, Erdnasephile - that's exactly the sort of material I'm looking for.

Bob - I'm not sure if it's an exaggeration of "typical" behavior or something completely different. Perhaps both... but it appears to be something well beyond the normal kid stuff!
It's a Firkin great day at http://www.absurdulous.com!

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Magic and Autism

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 25th, 2018, 9:25 pm

Are there tricks which deceive them which don't work with non-aspies?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

JHostler
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Joined: September 27th, 2008, 8:34 pm

Re: Magic and Autism

Postby JHostler » February 25th, 2018, 9:34 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Are there tricks which deceive them which don't work with non-aspies?


Good question. The kiddo is further into the spectrum than a typical aspie. That said, as someone who likely meets the higher-spectrum definition, I've not proven more "foolable" than peers in any particular corner of magic or mentalism. (In fact, the chronic desire to be flummoxed - which has become nearly impossible over the last four decades - plays no small role in my continued wading through this avocation!)
It's a Firkin great day at http://www.absurdulous.com!

Daniel Z
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Joined: June 17th, 2008, 8:32 pm

Re: Magic and Autism

Postby Daniel Z » February 25th, 2018, 9:49 pm

Hello John.
There's been little real research on this point but it is beginning. Below I'll attach a link to an article about an experiment carried out by Gustav Kuhn at Goldsmiths University of London. Professor Kuhn is accomplished cognitive psychologist. But he was first a magician, and is one of the founders of the Science of Magic Association (SOMA) https://scienceofmagicassoc.org I met him when we went to film with him and some of the other SOMA scientists (and Pit Hartling, Thomas Fraps, Edward Hilsum, and Juan Tamariz) at the 1st SOMA meeting. You'll be able to see the results of our filming in our latest documentary which looks at scientists using magic to investigate perception, cognition and consciousness. We didn't include the autism related work and it is very much a first step, with all the. problems of sample size etc that you'd expect. Still it is intriguing and the results are not what most of us (including) Gustav would have expected. Here's the link I mentioned: https://tinyurl.com/y9nh468k That article has a video link that doesn't seem to work, so heres a link to a Youtube video of him discussing the experiment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLO94GouxmQ
Daniel

JHostler
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Re: Magic and Autism

Postby JHostler » February 25th, 2018, 10:05 pm

Thanks, Daniel - excellent! I'll be interested in seeing/hearing more about S.O.M.A.'s work in this and other areas. You've got me on the mailing list...
It's a Firkin great day at http://www.absurdulous.com!


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