Rachael Buchanan at the BBC:
But how do they fool people who know they are going to be duped?
Well, cutting edge-psychology is now being applied to this most ancient of entertainment forms, to understand how these masters of legerdemain trick the complexities of the human brain.
The techniques involved have been discussed this week at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre, being held to mark the centenary of the Magic Circle.
At the vanguard of this unusual appliance of science is University of Hertfordshire psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman.
As a former conjurer, he is uniquely qualified to understand the social dynamics between a magician and his audience and he argues that there is a lot more happening in a magic show than people realise.
“The really good performers,” he said, “the ones who know what they’re doing, have an incredible grasp of psychology”, and use it to convince you to see their version of events.