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By John Earman

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20 Give up? Look once more at the six cards, then compare them with the five cards pictured. Notice any differences? If the act of circling an eye distracted you and you fell for the trick (most people do), you are a victim of what psychologists call change blindness. A change—even a big, obvious change—can be all but invisible until you take another look. SPOILER ALERT! THE FOLLOWING SECTION DESCRIBES MAGIC SECRETS AND THEIR BRAIN MECHANISMS! Here’s what the trick looks like. Tamariz stands with his right side facing you.

On Multitasking Think you can text while driving? Listen to music while you pay your bills, send tweets, and monitor a football game on television? Write an e-mail, play solitaire, and check stock quotes while you have an argument with your spouse? Think again. A decade of research clearly shows that multitasking—the ability to do several things at once, efficiently and well—is a myth. Your brain is not designed to attend to two or three things at a time. It is configured to respond to one thing at a time.

Then, touching the magic wand in his left hand to his right hand, he shows that the coin has disappeared. When you rewind the scene in your mind, you will have a harder time figuring out where the vanished coin might be hidden. One of Magic Tony’s tricks involves misdirection based on what psychologists call a habituation-dishabituation paradigm. This means he specifically tries to make you complacent (that is, bored, lazy, or otherwise not carefully attending to what he is doing) by apparently repeating the same action over and over, and to lull you into a false sense of security.

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