Magicians Say Their Craft Makes Them See Faith As Just Hocus-Pocus - Religion News 10/27/11
Terribly fascinating article here. I saw a program a week or so ago on National Geographic Channel called Brain Games (check it out! - link below, but you may also view it On Demand or on youtube) and it discussed a lot of these same topics. How magicians use slight of hand and illusions to trick the brain into believing something magical happened. What really happens is the brain gets confused when things we usually associate with the world start to break down. Optical illusions and other illusions are really brain failures, combine that with distractions on our fragile attention span and we seem completely lost at how a "trick" works. Magicians really do have a unique understanding of how the human brain works and processes information in order to make a trick seem so impressive to the viewer. They need to know where those mental breakdowns happen to wow us. It's funny how when you really understand how something works, all the potential supernatural explanations just melt away into nothing.
The Brain Games episodes are really amazing at showing just how the brain perceives the world in which it is placed. It uses the available input to produce a picture in your mind of what it thinks is its best guess. Often times it can be tricked. It is also trained in a way that makes the most sense, but certain scenarios can cause a complete breakdown of our perceptions. It will blow you away!
National Geographic - Brain Games