Grade Level: 5th to 8th; Type: Neuroscience/Psychology/Sociology
In this experiment we will be testing which gender is better at catching how a magician performs his tricks.
- What is prestidigitation?
- What attracts your brain’s attention more, stationary objects or moving objects?
- What is misdirection in card tricks?
- Deck of cards
- Someone who is experienced in the art of prestidigitation
- Female and male volunteers
- Have the audience of volunteers stand around the performer.
- Have the performer do one card trick that involves sleight of hand.
- Ask the audience if they would like to see it again. If so, have the performer repeat the trick.
- Take each of the volunteers one by one into another room.
- Ask the volunteer to explain how they think the performer did his trick.
- Record the data, making sure to note the volunteer’s age and gender.
- Repeat these steps as many times as you like.
- Here are some helpful tips:
- Make sure that the audience does not already know how the trick is done.
- Make sure the audience keeps quiet while the performer does the trick.
- Pick out several card tricks whose secrets are of varying difficulty to spot. Take note of which ones are easy, medium, and hard.
- Look in the references for examples of tricks you can use.
- Here is a very easy trick you can start with:
- Take the card deck and have the numbers facing you.
- Take a single card and place it on the end of the stack facing the audience. Make sure it has the numbers facing the audience.
- Tell the audience you can predict which card you will pull out next.
- Since the whole deck of cards is backwards so you can see all of them, it would appear as if you were psychic.
- Make sure to flip the next card very fast giving the illusion that its back was facing you, not the numbers.
Terms/Concepts: Prestidigitation, Neurotransmitters, Misdirection, Sight and the brain
Harder card tricks:
Sleight of hand: