Monday, July 2, 2012

Tutorial 5: Kuhn and Rensink

Monday, July 2 2012 13:30 - 16:30 @ Old Ship Hotel

Tutorial 5: “The Science of Magic: Turning magic into Science!"

Gustav Kuhn (Department of Psychology, Brunel University, UK)
Ronald Rensink (Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Canada)


Over the centuries, magicians have developed extensive knowledge about how to manipulate our conscious experience; knowledge that has been largely ignored by science. However, in recent years, steps have been taken towards utilizing this knowledge to further our understanding of human cognition and consciousness. In previous ASSC symposium and tutorial, the case was made for a close collaboration between magicians and scientists. In this tutorial we will go further and show how such collaboration can serve as the foundation for a science of magic, and present an explicit framework. Illustrations are given in broad terms about how this science might work in practice, including a description of the kinds of contributions that would be considered valuable.

In the second section, we will examine how a science of magic can provide us with new tools and perspectives from which to investigate the nature of perception, cognition, and human experience. We will explore the things that can we learn from the perceptual and cognitive effects that magicians have developed? How can we use magic as a tool to investigate psychological processes? How can magical effects be used to investigate belief systems? What can the experiential states generated by observing magic effects tell us about human experience? What can we learn from the magician’s expertise in motor control? We will conclude that there are numerous areas in which magic is not merely a sufficient, but a necessary way of investigation.

Tutorial Outline:
Warm up: Magic Demonstration (10 min)
The science of Magic Framework (30 min)
Possible contributions to the science of magic (30 min)
Discussion (15 min)Break (15 minutes)
Warm up: Magic Demonstration (5min)
Contributions from a Science of Magic (60 min)
Discussion (15 minutes)

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