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We are currently conducting experiments on the interaction of emotion and attention. Magicians use humor, and other emotions, to misdirect their audiences, with precisely choreographed timing. There is not much known about the neuroscience of emotion in relationship to attention. This new line of research is inspired by Juan Tamariz, one of the greatest magicians, and magic theorists, alive.

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We're trying to see if experiencing an emotion can decrease your ability to pay attention, and if so, what is the specific timing, and are some emotions more powerful than other at controlling attention. Juan Tamariz has predicted that humor will be most powerful, but only the data will tell.

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Ask me anything journal club

- On The Neuroscience of Illusion

Who: Dr. Stephen Macknik, Director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology at Barrow Neurological Institute, Dr. Susana Martinez-Conde, Director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience, and Mr. Hector Rieiro, graduate student at the Barrow Neurological Institute.

What: Drs. Macknik and Martinez-Conde and Mr. Rieiro have studied a magic trick filmed in magician duo Penn & Teller’s theater in Las Vegas, to illuminate the neuroscience of illusion. Their results advance our understanding of how observers can be misdirected and will aid magicians as they work to improve their art.

Drs. Macknik and Martinez-Conde and Mr. Rieiro will be answering your questions live from 8am-10am PST, regarding their article, magic illusions, or any other topic of relevance to visual neuroscience.

When: December 17, 2013 08:00 am PST

Where: Ask me anything - On The Neuroscience of Illusion