Teller tells about deception, perhaps truthfully

Teller, the usually-one-named magician who partners with the often-two-named Penn Jillette to form the pair called Penn & Teller, talks about deception, in an essay in Smithsonian magazine. He begins to get to the point, by saying:

Magic’s not easy to pick apart with machines, because it’s not really about the mechanics of your senses. Magic’s about understanding—and then manipulating—how viewers digest the sensory information.

I think you’ll see what I mean if I teach you a few principles magicians employ when they want to alter your perceptions….

Teller says that, sometimes, he and Penn work to make their audience laugh… and then NOT think:

3. It’s hard to think critically if you’re laughing. We often follow a secret move immediately with a joke. A viewer has only so much attention to give, and if he’s laughing, his mind is too busy with the joke to backtrack rationally.


One Response to “Teller tells about deception, perhaps truthfully”

  1. joedanda Says:

    I am glad that this topic was uploaded by the editor of Improbable Research, which makes me laugh and think. As documented in the homepage of IG Research, major goals of IG Research are to make people laugh and think, and to spur their curiosity in science. Many of recent topics introduced here tend to forget such an unique original resolution of Improbable Research. The goal of Improbable Research can/should not be achieved by making cheap/silly/tacky jokes.

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