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    The role of audience participation and task relevance on change detection during a card trick

    Smith, Tim J. (2015) The role of audience participation and task relevance on change detection during a card trick. Frontiers in Psychology 6 (13), ISSN 1664-1078.

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    Abstract

    Magicians utilize many techniques for misdirecting audience attention away from the secret sleight of a trick. One technique is to ask an audience member to participate in a trick either physically by asking them to choose a card or cognitively by having them keep track of a card. While such audience participation is an established part of most magic the cognitive mechanisms by which it operates are unknown. Failure to detect changes to objects while passively viewing magic tricks has been shown to be conditional on the changing feature being irrelevant to the current task. How change blindness operates during interactive tasks is unclear but preliminary evidence suggests that relevance of the changing feature may also play a role (Triesch, Ballard, Hayhoe & Sullivan, 2003). The present study created a simple on-line card trick inspired by Triesch and colleagues’ (2003) that allowed playing cards to be instantaneously replaced without distraction or occlusion as participants were either actively sorting the cards (Doing condition) or watching another person perform the task (Watching conditions). Participants were given one of three sets of instructions. The relevance of the card color to the task increased across the three instructions. During half of the trials a card changed color (but retained its number) as it was moving to the stack. Participants were instructed to immediately report such changes. Analysis of the probability of reporting a change revealed that actively performing the sorting task led to more missed changes than passively watching the same task but only when the changing feature was irrelevant to the sorting task. If the feature was relevant during either the pick-up or put-down action change detection was as good as during the watching block. These results confirm the ability of audience participation to create subtle dynamics of attention and perception during a magic trick and hide otherwise striking changes at the center of attention.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Card trick, change blindness, Attention, Perception, agency, web experiment, Magic
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centre: Moving Image, Birkbeck Institute for the (BIMI), Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Tim Smith
    Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2015 17:12
    Last Modified: 14 Dec 2016 09:43
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/11468

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