The Science of Magic with Gustav Kuhn

by Scott Barry Kaufman, July 4, 2019

Today it’s great to have Gustav Kuhn on the show. Born in Switzerland,  Kuhn discovered his passion for magic at the age of 13, and much of his teenage years were dedicated to the art of illusion and deception.  At the age of 19 he moved to London to follow his dream of becoming a professional magician, but his career took a dramatic change after he discovered a keen interest for psychology. Gustav went on to study psychology at Sussex University, and towards the end of his PhD, he noticed a direct link between magic and psychology. His unique background in science and magic allowed him to build bridges between these two domains, which helped him establish a science of magic. Kuhn is now a Reader at Goldsmiths University of London, and director of the MAGIC-Lab (Mind Attention & General Illusory Cognition).  He is one of the pioneering researchers in the Science of Magic and he is one of the founding members and president of the Science of Magic Association. His latest book is called “Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of Magic”.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What is the link between psychology and magic?
  • The link between perception and magic
  • What is magic? What is not magic?
  • The link between magic and well-being
  • Early childhood experiences of magicians
  • The link between magic and creativity
  • The role of misdirection in magic
  • The neural basis of magic
  • Do we all experience the same magic?
  • The “magician’s force”
  • The potential for using magic for bad ends
  • Will magicians ever become obsolete in the age of machines?
  • The link between magic and human-machine interaction
  • How we can use science to enhance the magic endeavor


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