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September 18, 2020 - Gizmodo

Why Scientists Should Use Magic to Study Animal Intelligence

Why Scientists Should Use Magic to Study Animal Intelligence
Magician File Image: (c) Photabulous!

Scientists should use magic tricks to better understand animal intelligence and perception, argue a team of researchers in a new paper. The idea makes sense, particularly when humans and animals can be fooled by the same illusion.

I’ve never really been a fan of magic tricks. Sure, they’re entertaining as hell, but they make me feel, well, a bit violated. When I’m duped by a magician, I feel like they’ve somehow reached into my brain and exploited a cognitive weakness or vulnerability. It’s like my brain is being hacked.

To be fair, that’s exactly what magicians are trying to do, with their sleight of hand, distractions, and use of illusions. Though I’m loathe to admit it, my brain is not perfect, so of course I’m vulnerable to such tricks, as are virtually all humans.

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