Penn and Teller, Dr. Susana Martinez-Conde, Jeff Goldblum, and Dr. Stephen Macknik. (Credit: National Geographic)

Meet Dr. Susana Martinez-Conde & Dr. Stephen Macknik, Neuroscientists Studying Magic

by Neil Bui

Happy Disney+ Day, a global celebration across all dimensions of the Walt Disney Company! Disney+ subscribers have new releases available to them such as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Jungle Cruise, and season 2 of The World According to Jeff Goldblum.  In anticipation of Jeff Goldblum Season 2, Dorkaholics had an opportunity to meet Dr. Stephen Macknik and Dr. Susana Martinez-Conde, Harvard-educated neuroscientists who were featured on the episode about magic and are known for their studies on illusions and attentional misdirection.

Neil Bui (NB): Would you say your interests in these topics began as a fascination with magic or with science?

Dr. Stephen Macknick (SM): Definitely science. We got into this because we were asked to run a scientific convention on the scientific concept and underpinnings of consciousness. That’s when we realized we needed to include some magicians in order to understand how artists of cognitions and awareness actually trick the brain.

Dr. Susana Martinez-Conde (SMC): We have been studying illusions for a lot longer than we have studied magic.

NB: That’s an important discrepancy. What is the difference per say in illusions versus magic?

SMC: Magic illusions are a particular type of illusion. There are some illusions in magic that have to do with our perception but a lot of them have to do with cognition, particularly with manipulation of attention. But we have studied many other illusions.

Watch the rest of the interview here:

About The World According to Jeff Goldblum

Jeff Goldblum is back — and he’s as curious as ever. In this season of “The World According to Jeff Goldblum,” Jeff uncovers surprising secrets behind a whole new host of topics — including DOGS, MAGIC, FIREWORKS, MONSTERS and DANCE. While meeting a new cast of fantastic characters, from passionate fans to experts unveiling life-changing new technology, Jeff discovers just how these topics have shaped the world we live in.

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