Book Review: Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions by Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, with Sandra Blakeslee | Science News

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Book Review: Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions by Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, with Sandra Blakeslee

Review by Laura Sanders

By
9:44am, October 22, 2010

Magic wands, fake drop boxes and invisible thread may be fun gimmicks, but a magician’s most valuable tool weighs about three pounds and sits in the skull of the spectator.

In their illuminating book, brain experts Martinez-Conde and Macknik make the case that magicians are some of the most skilled neuroscientists around. No mere hucksters, magicians deftly manipulate brains by sculpting attention, perception and memory so that the outrageous seems possible. 

The authors, both researchers at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, have a deep appreciation of magic and close ties to the magic community. The duo often draws on the experiences of successful magicians to illustrate the neuroscience behind tricks. The clear, engaging writing is interspersed with bizar

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