Goldsmiths Psychology Department Seminar Series
In this talk, I ask what role perceptual illusions – as opposed to attentional misdirection and cognitive illusions – play in stage magic. A major hallmark of perceptual illusions is that they are largely impervious to conscious reasoning (i.e., they are cognitively impenetrable). Thus, one would expect that perceptual illusions are ideal tools for creating strong and robust magical experiences. In current discussions of the factors underlying the art of conjuring, however, the classical perceptual illusions seem to play a relatively minor role. I argue that magicians actually do rely on perceptual illusions to a considerable extent, but that our traditional scientific notions about what should count as a perceptual illusion may prevent us from realizing this. In this regard, the scientific study of magic may aid traditional vision science in gaining an even deeper understanding of the scope and limits of perceptual processes in shaping our experience of the world.
Vebjørn Ekroll earned his doctoral degree in psychology at the University of Kiel and pursued his interests in vision science further as a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Experimental Psychology at the University of Leuven. He is currently a professor of psychology at the University of Bergen. His research on various topics such as colour perception, motion perception, amodal completion, and the psychology of magic is motivated by a more general interest in perceptual organization and the structure of perceptual representations.
Dates & times
|19 Oct 2017||4:00pm - 5:00pm|
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