Why Scientists Should Use Magic to Study Animal Intelligence

Humans are not unique in magic tricks. @NLENTS should take a look at this.

The video is pretty hilarious:

And here is the Science perspectives article:

In the past decade, the study of magic effects has started to gain attention from the scientific community, particularly psychologists. This interest stems from what magic effects might reveal about the blind spots in our perception and roadblocks in our thinking. The study of magic effects may offer researchers opportunities for new lines of inquiry about perception and attention. Moreover, because magic effects capitalize on our ability to remember what happened and our ability to anticipate what will happen next, using magical frameworks elicits ways to investigate complex cognitive abilities such as mental time travel (i.e., remembering the past and anticipating the future). Moving beyond the intersection between magic and the human mind, the application of magic effects to investigate the animal mind can prompt the comparison of behavioral reactions among diverse species, in which magic effects might exploit similar perceptive blind spots and cognitive roadblocks.

The psychology of magic offers the scientific community a powerful methodological tool for testing the perceptive blind spots and cognitive roadblocks in diverse taxa. Studying whether animals can be deceived by the same magic effects that deceive humans can offer a window into the cognitive parallels and variances in attention, perception, and mental time travel, especially those species thought to possess the necessary prerequisites to be deceived by magic effects. Magical frameworks offer alternative and innovative avenues for hypothesis testing and experimental design, and it is hoped that future researchers will incorporate them into their investigations of the animal mind.


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Yeah I read this article the day it came out. It’s getting harder and harder to deny that animals have something like a theory of mind. :slight_smile:

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I just posted this question elsewhere, then saw your new post…the question fits better here.