Science and Technology

The Science of Magic


Colourful and compelling, this film takes a critical and engaging look at the fascinating facts revealed when you see the human mind through the eyes of a magician.

Magic has become the latest investigative tool for scientists exploring human cognition, neurobiology and behaviour. Across Canada, the US and Europe, this film follows researchers who are bringing magicians’ tricks into the laboratory. With impossible magic, amazing facts and opportunities for viewers to participate in the magic, this extraordinary exploration peeks behind the curtain into a fascinating world where ancient magic meets modern science.

Canadian magician, Julie Eng, not only mystifies us with magic, she also takes us to Montreal’s McGill University to meet Jay Olson. He is one of the scientists spearheading this novel and powerful approach to experimental psychology. On the streets of Montreal, Julie and Jay use card tricks to help us understand how magic can be used to explore human consciousness. But these simple tricks have given way to more elaborate experiments. We join Jay at the Montreal Neurological Institute for an extraordinary demonstration involving an MRI machine that can apparently not only read minds, but can even use its electro-magnetic fields to manipulate your most private thoughts. We travel to London, England for the first meeting of the Science and Magic Association (SOMA) where Gustav Kuhn conducts a study that tracks the eye movements of the magician’s audience. We see tricks that fool us, despite nothing actually happening, as well as demonstrations that reveal we can be blind even to our own choices.


Programme Details

1 x 60'
CBC Canada