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Magic trick reveals unconscious knowledge

People 'know' what they don't believe they've seen, study shows

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3:51pm, November 14, 2011

WASHINGTON — Magic tricks prey on people’s subpar powers of perception, but new work finds that the brain has tricks of its own up its sleeve: People notice more than they think.

In the research, presented November 12 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Luis Martinez of CSIC- Miguel Hernandez University in Spain and colleagues amazingly “read minds” with the Princess Card Trick, invented by magician Henry Hardin in 1905. Volunteers mentally chose a playing card from a panel of six cards, which then disappeared. When a second group of cards appeared, the researchers had miraculously figured out which card a person had in mind and removed it. Few people caught the trick: All the cards in the second set were different, not just the card people had chosen.

A few seconds after viewing the two panels of cards, participants were asked which of two new cards was present in the first panel. None of the volunteers could consciously

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