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Guest Speakers: Anthony Barnhart, PHD, Associate Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Psychological Science at Carthage College

Host: Stephanie West Allen, JD, PPI Dean of Neuroscience, Artistry, and Contemplative Practices

Description: Although we won’t be able to talk to Merlin on December 15, we’ll have an enlightening conversation with the next best magician: Professor Anthony Barnhart. He will tell us how knowing some principles underlying magicians’ performance of their tricks will help each of us to increase both valuable self-knowledge and our understanding of others. Because he is both a long-time magician and a professor of cognitive psychology, Dr. Barnhart will bring to us a double dose of expertise. And a Webinar that won’t be quite like any other.

You might enrich your experience on the webinar by doing one or more of the following three. These are only suggestions, not assignments.

  • Watching this short (only 15 minutes) video of Dr. Barnhart’s keynote for this year’s American Psychological Association annual conference titled “Magic in the Lab: Psychological Insights from Magicians
  • Answering these questions (either in depth or just the first response that comes to mind):
    • What are your blind spots?
    • What assumptions do you commonly make in your professional life? Your personal life?
    • When you believe you know what others are thinking, what helps you to do so?
    • What are some of the benefits of being correct about what another is thinking? Some of the drawbacks of being incorrect?
    • Do you multitask often? Effectively?
  • Read – Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions (a book in which you will run into Dr. Barnhart a number of times).

Introduction to Our Guest Speakers

Anthony Barnhart is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department 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 30 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 current research on the topic explores inattentional blindness and the techniques magicians use to manipulate attentional deployment in time. He regularly teaches a college course devoted to the cognitive science of magic. More information is available at www.AnthonyBarnhart.com.

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