The Trick Brain

February 22nd, 2012 | David Mitchell | Filed Under General



The Brain is an amazing computer

When people ask me what appeals to me most about magic, I find that the statement I refer to the most is:

I like HOW magic works, but I love WHY magic works.

I like my methods and all the sleight of hand I’ve learned over the years, but I love learning more about the complex nature of the mind and how easy it is to really fool someone.

The video above also states something else that I’ve always believed in. The hand is not quicker than your eye, your brain just can’t truly focus on more than one thing at a time. As advanced as we like to think we are, it’s is almost impossible to genuinely pay attention to more than one thing at a time. Of course over time as you gain more exposure to that which is dividing your attention you’re able to train yourself to switch rapidly back and forth but there’s limits to even that. This is why a missing a stop sign can happen easily for a new driver who is so focused on the road in front of them, anything off to one side is easily missed. But as you gain experience you’re able to drive, listen to the radio, talk and still stop when you should.

The hand is not quicker than your eye, your brain just can’t truly focus on more than one thing at a time.

Your brain is a wonderful thing filled with unimaginable power, but it will also betray you without you knowing. If you’re not actively paying attention to something you’ll miss a lot of things. Referring back to our previous example of driving, have you ever wondered why cities will put up a new stoplight but not turn it on for a few weeks? It’s because they KNOW that your brain thinks that there’s no stoplight there, and they KNOW that if they were to turn it on without giving anyone a chance to get used to it’s presence the accident rates would rise dramatically. Over a period of time, it gets noticed and when they finally do turn it on, you’re ready. This is how your brain tricks you, and it’s how magicians use that knowledge to fool you.

Knowledge truly is power, but only if your brain co-operates.


  1. is this the whole lecture. I’d love to see more, this is interesting stuff

  2. btw pay atention to the picture in the beginning of the video.
    there’s a pickpocket working in the magicians crowd

  3. Good video. Like to see more along the same vein.

  4. If you guys like it then you should read the book “Slights of Mind” its about neuroscience in magic and how the brain perceives it. Really awesome book, can really give you some insight on presentation. I highly recommend it.

  5. Wow! that’s amazing! I can’t believe it!

  6. personal development plan, mindset, personal development, venture catalyst, my mentor on:

    Fantastic . It’s refreshing to find content like this. I’m from Aberdeenshire and finding good content is not easy. keep up the great work.