Con Men, Neuroscience and Magic: How the World of Illusion Can Inform Our Understanding of Human Perception

Semester: 

N/A

Offered: 

2015

Ada Kaliszewska 

In this course we will explore the limits of human cognition and attention and see how magicians use these to fool us into thinking that they can bend spoons with the power of their minds or that a chosen card can travel through a deck to reveal itself.  We will look at how magicians imitate nature by looking at how appearing silks and flashes of fire are based on the same principles that stick insects or antelope use to avoid predators. We will discuss how con artists and fortune tellers use our social adaptations and innate predispositions against us. And we will talk about how superstitions and preconceived notions work to make us more susceptible to being conned or deceived and discuss ways of avoiding becoming and easy mark. M, W, & F, 3-4pm.