Psychological research vol:79 issue:4 pages:513-22
In magic tricks involving false transfer, the conjurer typically creates the illusion of transferring a coin from one hand into the other, which is then closed into a fist, while in reality the coin is kept hidden in the first hand. The magical experience occurs when the closed fist of the second hand is opened and shown to be empty. According to professional magicians, the magical experience evoked by this kind of tricks becomes noticeably weaker when the time interval between the false transfer and the opening of the fist increases. This observation is surprising, given that neither the length of this interval nor any obvious factors associated with it can be expected to change the spectators' intellectual conviction regarding the true location of the coin. We performed a controlled psychological experiment and obtained results corroborating these informal observations. Increasing the temporal interval from 1 to 32 s led to an average reduction of the strength of the magical experience of 38 %. We discuss potential explanations of this curious phenomenon in terms of object persistence, object files and temporal amodal completion.