Science Fair Project:

Are Men or Women Easier to Trick?

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Research Questions:

  • What is prestidigitation?
  • What attracts your brain’s attention more, stationary objects or moving objects?
  • What is misdirection in card tricks?

Materials:

  • Deck of cards
  • Someone who is experienced in the art of prestidigitation
  • Female and male volunteers

Experimental Procedure

  1. Have the audience of volunteers stand around the performer.
  2. Have the performer do one card trick that involves sleight of hand.
  3. Ask the audience if they would like to see it again. If so, have the performer repeat the trick.
  4. Take each of the volunteers one by one into another room.
  5. Ask the volunteer to explain how they think the performer did his trick.
  6. Record the data, making sure to note the volunteer’s age and gender.
  7. Repeat these steps as many times as you like.
  8. 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

References:

Card tricks:

http://www.card-trick.com/easy_card_tricks/hands_off_card_trick.htm

http://www.card-trick.com/easy_card_tricks/amazing_prediction_card_trick.htm

http://www.card-trick.com/easy_card_tricks/only_time_will_tell_card_trick.htm

Harder card tricks:

http://www.cardtricksite.com/tricks/tbrown/absent.htm

http://www.cardtricksite.com/tricks/tbrown/anotherc.htm

http://www.cardtricksite.com/tricks/tbrown/switch.htm

Sleight of hand:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleight_of_hand

Author: Danielle Abadam
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