Title: The put-and-fetch ambiguity: How magicians exploit the principle of exclusive allocation of movements to intentions
Authors: Van de Cruys, Sander ×
Wagemans, Johan
Ekroll, Vebjörn #
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Pion Ltd.
Series Title: i-Perception vol:6 pages:86-90
Abstract: In many magic tricks, magicians fool their audience by performing a mock action (a so-called “ruse”), which merely serves the purpose of providing a seemingly natural explanation for visible movements that are actually part of the secret move they want to hide from the audience. Here, we discuss a special magic ruse in which the action of secretly putting something somewhere is “explained away” by the mock action of fetching something from the same place, or vice versa. Interestingly, the psychological principles underlying the amazing potency and robustness of this technique seem to be very similar to the general perceptual principles underlying figure-ground perception and the assignment of border ownership. This analogy may be useful for exploring the possibility that this and similar magical effects involve immediate “unconscious inferences” about intentions more akin to perceptual processing than to explicit deliberations based on a reflective 'theory' of mind.
ISSN: 2041-6695
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Laboratory for Experimental Psychology
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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