🤑 Frontiers | The possibility of a science of magic | Psychology

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We argue here, however, that although this concern raises some interesting challenges for this science, it does not negate the possibility that it could exist, and could contribute to the study of the mind. But if history is any guide, it can be done. But they can still be analyzed using approaches such as phrase-structure grammar 2 Chomsky, and psycho-linguistic experimentation see O'Brien et al. Other classifications are of course possible. Although, a complete inventory or classification is a laudable goal, it is not a necessary one: such systems can often be valuable even when incomplete—e. However, this might be handled by grouping together those tricks with similar effects, and focusing on the aspects common to the group. Are there factors we have not considered, factors that might influence the development of a science of magic? More recently, Lamont raised a new objection, arguing that although base-level work i. If this did not occur, magic could never have become a popular form of entertainment. And if there are worries that no such attempts have ever succeeded, consider the case of steam engines. And these aspects appear quite amenable to study. Lamont and Lamont et al. This paper and our two earlier ones are in some ways preliminary exercises in the philosophy of magic 4 , concerned with issues of a more general nature. But in addition to this, we also suggested that it might be time to consider developing an outright science of magic —a distinct area of study concerned with the experience of wonder that results from encountering an apparently impossible event 1. Ideally, such studies will become more powerful, knitting together our knowledge of individual components, and allowing us to understand each magic trick in its entirety. In this view, a trick carried out in a slightly different way is a different entity; given the nearly infinite number of small differences possible in methods e. But a science of magic centers primarily around experiential effects, not tricks Rensink and Kuhn, The first level of our framework above the base, for instance, focuses on aspects of experience that are largely unique to magic. This is based on two principles: i rely on psychological mechanisms as much as possible, and ii have the highest levels of the taxonomy center around the mechanisms affected, and not the mechanisms that control these. For example, the meaning of a word depends on its context. Even if there is only a small chance that such a development could be possible for magic, it would appear to be a chance well worth taking. And eventually, work began on a scientific framework to investigate the principles involved see McClellan and Dorn, The resulting science—thermodynamics—has become one of the mainstays of modern physics, not only providing considerable insight into what such engines can and cannot do, but also helping us understand other processes of nature, from the metabolism of cells to the energy production of stars. The choice made could depend on a large number of factors, such as the tricks used in the rest of the performance, or how the magician is feeling at that moment.

The past few years have seen a resurgence of interest in the scientific study of magic. Note that there is no problem study magic a component is used for different purposes in different tricks—if its analysis is based on functional considerations as we have suggestedthere will be no ambiguity in its role.

There appear to be two reasons for this concern. Magic tricks are of course important, and are the focus of the next level.

For details, see Kuhn et al. Towards a science of magic. For example, important advances have recently been made toward a science of film and study magic science of music, involving new issues that touch upon much more than just basic aspects of perception and cognition e.

Our proposal—or https://bonuscasinomoney.site/blackjack/free-microsoft-blackjack-game-app.html like it—therefore appears to have some potential to help researchers use magic to better understand perception, memory, and reasoning.

Revealing ontological commitments by magic. And such regularities can be studied in a systematic way 3. These developments have largely borne out our earlier hopes Kuhn et al. Lamont provides a nice discussion of what some of these might be. There's more to magic than meets the eye.

Kuhn, T.

And it would seem that much more can still be done along these lines. Chomsky, N. Regarding possibilities at the highest level of our framework systematization , Lamont claims that the lack of structure in tricks also prevents their classification in a principled way. Beth, T. Oxford: University Press. Paris: Mouton. Given the nature of their subject matter, these areas are vulnerable to many of the same concerns as have been raised about a science of magic; nevertheless, the scientific development of these areas is proceeding. It is entirely possible, for example, to relate in a systematic way designs described by continuous parameters, even when these parameters interact with each other in complex ways see Woodbury, As to how a principled classification might be created for magic tricks: this is a complex issue, involving a great amount of empirical detail. Said another way: at this level, the scientific study of magic is not concerned with the nature of magic tricks themselves, but with the magical aspects of experience created by these tricks. A more interesting factor—one obliquely referred to in Lamont —is what might be called contingency : different methods can often achieve the same effect, and no reasons may exist as to why one method should be chosen over another. Another approach would be to define a particular trick as using a particular method; the issue would then reduce to one of explaining its use in a given performance. A complete trick is a complex entity, with a method that typically has multiple components. Explorations have already begun of several such components—e. This approach could be readily applied to magic tricks, considering as equivalent those with little or no differences in how they are experienced—e. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. One such set of issues concerns the possibility of different types—and levels—of wonder; an example is the work of Griffiths on the degree of interest evoked by various magical transformations. Lamont considers magic tricks as lacking sufficient structure for this to happen. But this has not prevented the scientific study of language. But this challenge has been faced—and met—in many other sciences. Only time will tell. These principles greatly reduce the number of arbitrary decisions that typically enter into a classification of magic tricks see Lamont, ; as such, we believe the result to be a fairly natural one. Cognition , 43— Kuhn, G. We wish to thank the three reviewers for their feedback on a previous version of this paper. In all of this, the details of how the experiences are evoked are irrelevant. But this does not impede biology—this matter can be handled by the careful use of abstraction, with animals collected into groups of largely similar character. On lumpers and splitters of higher taxa in ciliate systematics. Syntactic Structures. Will any of these ultimately prevent its development? In such approaches, appropriate selection of more basic elements and their rules of combination can let us understand aspects of a potentially infinite set of items. But even assuming that magic tricks have little structure, would this necessarily prevent their systematic classification? Trends Cogn. For example, each individual animal is different and even changes over time. And contrary to Lamont's assertion, we have never claimed that a science of magic requires a complete inventory or classification. Corliss, J. The curious influence of timing on the magical experience evoked by conjuring tricks involving false transfer: decay of amodal object permanence? For instance, some classifications may be better than ours for particular purposes, such as the teaching of prospective magicians. But as an example of how such a venture might proceed, we have elsewhere proposed a way to classify methods of misdirection Kuhn et al. But this is primarily based on empirical considerations, not a priori ones about variety. Note, however, that systematic analysis is just one level of our framework: even if this were somehow entirely impossible, the other levels would remain. And even in established sciences such as biology, proposed taxonomies can vary—e. Another source of variety mentioned is a lack of clear boundaries. Google Scholar. Such contingency reflects the artistic nature of a magic performance, but does not rule out the possibility of scientific study. Various taxonomies for magic tricks clearly exist see e. But there are grounds for optimism. Ball, P. Griffiths, T. A psychologically-based taxonomy of misdirection. Many different kinds of magic tricks clearly exist, and Lamont provides some nice examples of these. Given that humans respond in roughly similar ways to a given stimulus, there are stable regularities in what results once a particular method and context have been selected. But although natural kinds can facilitate classification, they are not necessary for this. Methods in magic appear amenable to this, being composed of distinct components. Here, the emphasis is on how the effects evoked in each trick including the sense of wonder are created. During the first century of their existence, an enormous number of these were created, with a great deal of variety and contingency in their design. To this end, we proposed a framework as to how this might be achieved Rensink and Kuhn, A science can be viewed as a systematic method of investigation involving three sets of issues: i the entities considered relevant, ii the kinds of questions that can be asked about them, and iii the kinds of answers that are legitimate Kuhn, In the case of magic, we suggested that this could be done at three different levels, each focusing on a distinct set of issues concerned with the nature of magic itself: i the nature of magical experience, ii how individual magic tricks create this experience, and iii organizing knowledge of the set of known tricks in a more comprehensive way Rensink and Kuhn, Our framework also included a base level focused on how the methods of magic could be used as tools to investigate issues in existing fields of study. And it could equally well enable knowledge of perception, memory, and reasoning to help better understand magic.