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The Psychology of Magic and the Magic of Psychology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450084 Year: Pages: 175 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-008-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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Abstract

Magicians have dazzled audiences for many centuries; however, few researchers have studied how, let alone why, most tricks work. The psychology of magic is a nascent field of research that examines the underlying mechanisms that conjurers use to achieve enchanting phenomena, including sensory illusions, misdirection of attention, and the appearance of mind-control and nuanced persuasion. Most studies to date have focused on either the psychological principles involved in watching and performing magic or “neuromagic” - the neural correlates of such phenomena. Whereas performers sometimes question the contributions that modern science may offer to the advancement of the magical arts, the history of magic reveals that scientific discovery often charts new territories for magicians. In this research topic we sketch out the symbiotic relationship between psychological science and the art of magic. On the one hand, magic can inform psychology, with particular benefits for the cognitive, social, developmental, and transcultural components of behavioural science. Magicians have a large and robust set of effects that most researchers rarely exploit. Incorporating these effects into existing experimental, even clinical, paradigms paves the road to innovative trajectories in the study of human behaviour. For example, magic provides an elegant way to study the behaviour of participants who may believe they had made choices that they actually did not make. Moreover, magic fosters a more ecological approach to experimentation whereby scientists can probe participants in more natural environments compared to the traditional lab-based settings. Examining how magicians consistently influence spectators, for example, can elucidate important aspects in the study of persuasion, trust, decision-making, and even processes spanning authorship and agency. Magic thus offers a largely underused armamentarium for the behavioural scientist and clinician. On the other hand, psychological science can advance the art of magic. The psychology of deception, a relatively understudied field, explores the intentional creation of false beliefs and how people often go wrong. Understanding how to methodically exploit the tenuous twilight zone of human vulnerabilities – perceptual, logical, emotional, and temporal – becomes all the more revealing when top-down influences, including expectation, symbolic thinking, and framing, join the fray. Over the years, science has permitted magicians to concoct increasingly effective routines and to elicit heightened feelings of wonder from audiences. Furthermore, on occasion science leads to the creation of novel effects, or the refinement of existing ones, based on systematic methods. For example, by simulating a specific card routine using a series of computer stimuli, researchers have decomposed the effect to assess its essential elements. Other magic effects depend on meaningful psychological knowledge, such as which type of information is difficult to retain or what changes capture attention. Behavioural scientists measure and study these factors. By combining analytical findings with performer intuitions, psychological science begets effective magic. Whereas science strives on parsimony and independent replication of results, magic thrives on reproducing the same effect with multiple methods to obscure parsimony and minimise detection. This Research Topic explores the seemingly orthogonal approaches of scientists and magicians by highlighting the crosstalk as well as rapprochement between psychological science and the art of deception.

Keywords

Magic --- Psychology --- deception --- Misdirection --- persuasion --- Illusion --- wonder

A Future History of Water

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ISBN: 9781478004516 Year: Pages: 248 Language: English
Publisher: Duke University Press
Subject: Ethnology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-07-19 11:21:14
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Based on fieldwork among state officials, NGOs, politicians, and activists in Costa Rica and Brazil, A Future History of Water traces the unspectacular work necessary to make water access a human right and a human right something different from a commodity. Andrea Ballestero shows how these ephemeral distinctions are made through four technolegal devices—formula, index, list and pact. She argues that what is at stake in these devices is not the making of a distinct future but what counts as the future in the first place. A Future History of Water is an ethnographically rich and conceptually charged journey into ant-filled water meters, fantastical water taxonomies, promises captured on slips of paper, and statistical maneuvers that dissolve the human of human rights. Ultimately, Ballestero demonstrates what happens when instead of trying to fix its meaning, we make water’s changing form the precondition of our analyses.

Keywords

water --- wonder --- future --- difference --- human rights --- commodification --- ethics

The Fairy Tale and Its Uses in Contemporary New Media and Popular Culture

ISBN: 9783038423003 9783038423010 Year: Pages: X, 214 Language: English
Publisher: MDPI - Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Added to DOAB on : 2016-12-30 12:46:14
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Ever since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the fairy tale has not only become a staple of the small and silver screen around the globe, it has also migrated into new media, overwhelming audiences with imaginative and spectacular retellings along the way. Indeed, modern fairy-tale adaptations, pervading contemporary popular culture, drastically subvert, shatter, and alter the public’s understanding of the classic fairy tale. Because of the phenomenally increasing proliferation of fairy-tale transformations in today’s “old” and “new” media, we must reflect upon the significance of the fairy tale for society and its social uses in a nuanced fashion. How, why, and for whom have fairy-tale narratives, characters, and motifs metamorphosed in recent decades? What significant intermedial and intertextual relationships exist nowadays in connection with the fairy tale? This Special Issue features eleven illuminating articles of thirteen scholars in the fields of folklore and fairy-tale studies, tackling these and other relevant questions.

Religion and Art: Rethinking Aesthetic and Auratic Experiences in 'Post-Secular' Times

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ISBN: 9783039210329 / 9783039210336 Year: Pages: 102 DOI: 10.3390/books978-3-03921-033-6 Language: eng
Publisher: MDPI - Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-26 08:44:06
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How can we think of the “aura” of (sacred) contexts and (sacred) works? How to think of individual and collective (esthetic/religious) experiences? What to make of the manipulative dimension of (religious and esthetic) “auratic” experiences? Is the work of art still capable of mediating the experience of the “sacred,” and under what conditions? What is the significance of the “eschatological” dimension of both art and religion (the sense of “ending”)? Can theology offer a way to reaffirm the creative capacities of the human being as something that characterizes the very condition of being human? This Special Issue aspires to contribute to the growing literature on contemporary art and religion, and to explore the new ways of thinking of art and the sacred (in their esthetic, ideological, and institutional dimensions) in the context of contemporary culture.

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