PerspectiveNeuroscience

An unexpected audience

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Science  18 Sep 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6510, pp. 1424-1426
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc6805

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Summary

In the past decade, the study of magic effects has started to gain attention from the scientific community, particularly psychologists. This interest stems from what magic effects might reveal about the blind spots in our perception and roadblocks in our thinking. The study of magic effects may offer researchers opportunities for new lines of inquiry about perception and attention. Moreover, because magic effects capitalize on our ability to remember what happened and our ability to anticipate what will happen next, using magical frameworks elicits ways to investigate complex cognitive abilities such as mental time travel (i.e., remembering the past and anticipating the future). Moving beyond the intersection between magic and the human mind, the application of magic effects to investigate the animal mind can prompt the comparison of behavioral reactions among diverse species, in which magic effects might exploit similar perceptive blind spots and cognitive roadblocks.

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