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Illusion Chasers

Illusion Chasers

Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday Deceptions
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    We are brain researchers who study the brain using illusions and magic—where reality is misaligned to how we see, think and feel – in addition to well-established neuroscience methods. Twitter: @SMartinezConde & @Stephen_Macknik. Web: Follow on Twitter @illusionchasers.
  • How Brains Know Where Things Are—Making Space by Jennifer Groh


    Groh launches her book with a BIG FAT LIE: she tells us that nine-tenths of our brain power is spent determining where things are. Then she immediately admits that she just made that up, but that she’d dedicate the rest of the book to explaining why she thinks its true. I was hooked! Brilliant, tantalizing, probably correct, but maybe not! I knew right then I would read this book cover-to-cover.

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    The Power of Cute


    Scientists conclude that cute things not only make us happier, but they also improve our performance in tasks that require behavioral carefulness

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    Your Brain on Thanks


    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It may not have the cache of winter holidays or the Cash! Yay! of a birthday, but it is the best feel-good holiday of the year. At least it feels that way to me. But why is that? Of all the wonderful annual holidays, why would I prefer a single meal, shared with family, loved ones, and friends? Many of these holidays include similar meals. What makes Thanksgiving different for my brain?

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    Art and Science Team Up To Steal Your Attention With Magic


    Artist Ellen Levy teamed up with neuroscientist Michael E. Goldberg, Director of the Mahoney Center for Brain and Behavior at Columbia University in New York, to apply the concept of change blindness to an interactive art installation. The resulting animation, “Stealing Attention”, was recently shown at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City, as part of the “Sleuthing the Mind” exhibit that Levy curated.

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    The Society for Neuroscience has just announced the 2014 Science Education and Outreach Awards…


    Illusion Chaser Susana Martinez-Conde is the 2014 winner of the prestigious Science Educator Award from the Society for Neuroscience!

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    Let There Be Light!


    Today the Brookhaven National Lab turned on their new National Synchrotron Light Source II and saw its first emitted x-ray photon!

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    Multitasking, pickpockets and hubris

    Watch for Pickpockets! (Ypsilon via Wikimedia Commons)

    One consequence of my laboratory’s collaboration with stage pickpocket Apollo Robbins is that I am often asked for strategies to thwart pickpockets in the real world. My usual advice is to avoid multitasking while you’re out and about, especially in the midst of a crowd. I speak not only from my experience as a cognitive researcher, but also as a former victim of pickpocketing.

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    New Science Channel show HACK MY BRAIN—Featuring Scientific American MIND’s Illusion Chasers!


    Todd Sampson is an advertising exec in Australia. An average Joe, who, like the rest of us, wants to be super human. So he’s enlisting scientists all over the world to hack his brain and make him, smarter, faster, and more creative. In our labs we show him a little bit of neuromagic. Come check it out this Friday!

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    The Art of the Brick


    There is an intersection of art, science and engineering in the works of Lego artist Nathan Sawaya, whose “Art of the Brick” traveling show I visited last weekend at the Discovery Times Square Museum in New York (the exhibition closed Sunday).

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    Neuroscience in fiction: “Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs”, by Adam-Troy Castro

    Image source:

    The people of Enysbourg lead merry, fulfilled, blissful lives – nine days out of every ten. On each Tenth Day, the country is ablaze with destruction. Cities are razed, children massacred, every single citizen and visitor to the country experiences unimaginable pain and suffering. But the Day After, peace is restored. All wounds, physical and psychological, are healed. Buildings and roads show no fractures. Families become whole again. Lovers reunite. Memories of the devastation remain, but they do not have the power to do harm.

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