Magic props induce misdirection differently from the magician’s face


Successfully conducting a magic performance requires that the magician guide the gaze of the audience away from the trick towards the props, which is known as misdirection. The role of the social cue, the direction of the magician's face, has been overestimated and the role of the props has been ignored until recently. We contested this assumption by using context congruent props, e.g., cards. Participants observed the same magic show twice. During the second observation, there was a mask on the magician's face, or on the prop, or there was no mask. The prop and the face independently caused misdirection during the second observation, implying that the social cue was not the only factor causing misdirection. It is suggested that top-down knowledge gradually modified the misdirection by inhibiting the fixation on the prop. We conclude that sufficient time is needed to activate top-down knowledge to cancel the misdirection.

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