Pro Talks: An Evening with Dr. Anthony Barnhart

Free for Members in good Standing!


Thursday July 27th 2017 @ 8pm


Boston Pizza Restaurant
1945 Columbia Street, New West (Columbia Square Plaza)

What can magicians learn from cognitive scientists?

Dr. Anthony Barhart Pro-Talk for Vancouver Magic Circle

Recent years have seen widespread interest in and call for a “science of magic” that learns from the psychological insights and methods of magicians. In just the last decade, renowned magicians, like Teller, Mac King, James Randi, and Apollo Robbins, have authored papers meant to be read not by magicians, but by scientists who study attention and perception. Although much of the work up until now has been one-sided (in that scientists are benefiting from magicians), the collaboration should be a two-way street. In his presentation, Dr. Barnhart will discuss the long history of interaction between psychologists and magician. Along the way, using live performance and video, he will introduce some of the techniques and theories from the world of magic that have inspired research in laboratories around the world (including his own) and will highlight what science can offer to performing magicians.

Anthony "Magic Tony" Barnhart is an Assistant Professor of Psychological Science at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from Arizona State University, where he began his graduate career with the intention of being a language researcher. To this end, he has published research examining the processes underlying handwritten word perception, a domain that has been largely ignored by psychologists. However, Tony is also a part-time professional magician with over 20 years of performing experience. His research trajectory changed in 2010 with the publication of the book Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about our Everyday Deceptions, in which he was featured as a consultant and teacher on the science of stage magic. The scientific interest that the book garnered motivated Tony to shift his focus toward the interface of science and magic. His work on the science of magic has been featured in Science News For Kids as well as in national and international television appearances and documentaries, most recently appearing in the Science Channel’s “Hack My Brain” program. He has also developed a semester-long course on the Psychology of Magic that was featured on the James Randi Educational Foundation's Swift Blog. As a performer, he employs psychological principles to elevate his magic’s impact and increase the audience’s sense of wonder.


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