Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University

Japanese

Blink and you'll miss it: the role of blinking in the perception of magic tricks

Journal PeerJ 4, e1873 (2016)
Authors Wiseman RJ (​1), Nakano T (2)

  1. Psychology, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, United Kingdom
  2. Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka, Japan
Title Blink and you’ll miss it: the role of blinking in the perception of magic tricks
PubMed 27069808
Laboratory Dynamic Brain Network Laboratory 〈Prof. Kitazawa〉
Abstract Magicians use several techniques to deceive their audiences, including, for
example, the misdirection of attention and verbal suggestion. We explored
another potential stratagem, namely the relaxation of externalized
attention. Participants watched a video of a highly skilled magician whilst
having their eye-blinks recorded. The timing of spontaneous eye-blinks was
highly synchronized across participants. In addition, the synchronized
blinks frequency occurred immediately after a seemingly impossible feat, and
often coincided with actions that the magician wanted to conceal from the
audience. Given that blinking is associated with the relaxation of
externalized attention, these findings suggest that blinking plays an
important role in the perception of magic, and that magicians may utilize
blinking and the relaxation of externalized attention to hide certain secret
actions.