Seeing Through Magic: The Psychology of Illusion

April 11, 2021 3:00 pm
April 11, 2021 4:00 pm
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About The Event:
Is seeing believing? Is believing seeing? How can we hope to conduct experiments on things that only exist within our minds? Can scientists be trusted to study deception without being deceived themselves?

Magicians have developed powerful techniques that allow them to induce vivid illusions of magical or supernatural-seeming experiences by exploiting the limits and eccentricities of human cognition. Beyond being simple tricks, magic illusions can help researchers glean new insights into the workings of our minds. Join magician and experimental psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins for a fascinating talk exploring the science of magic and illusion. This presentation will feature a mixture of storytelling and magical scientific demonstrations illustrating how scientists, past and present, have approached the study of illusion.
  • About Matt:
    Dr. Matthew L Tompkins is a psychologist, magician, and author. He's currently a postdoctoral research at Lund University’s Choice Blindness Lab. He completed his doctorate at Oxford University's Department of Experimental Psychology, where he focused on the historical and contemporary study of cognitive illusions. His academic work involves using behavioral paradigms, inspired by magic tricks, to investigate people’s misperceptions. Matt’s past work as a professional magician continues to shape his approach to research, teaching, and science communication. He’s the first member of London’s Magic Circle to have been admitted on the basis of a peer-reviewed scientific paper.
    More info: & on twitter @MattLTompkins
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Cambridge Science Festival, the first of its kind in the United States, is a madcap celebration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). A multifaceted, multicultural event, the Festival makes science accessible, interactive, and fun, highlighting the impact of STEAM in all our lives.

For the 2021 Festival, we will host a month-long celebration of STEAM in our community with an overarching theme of gratitude and appreciation. During the month of April 2021, we will showcase creative digital and virtual entries from our rich STEAM community.

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