Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Magicians use sleight of hand to confuse you about where an object is. But could they make you believe that you saw a non-existent object disappear?

A team of experimental psychologists at Oxford University developed their own magic trick to find out. Their results are published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Matthew Tompkins led the study. He explained: 'The science of magic actually played a significant role in the development of Experimental Psychology; the founding fathers of psychology were keenly interested in understanding how magicians could manipulate people's perceptions. Despite this initial interest, magic has been largely ignored by contemporary psychologists until relatively recently. Much of sleight of hand magic is about misdirecting people about the location of an object, and there is a growing body of psychological research about how magicians cause our minds to override the input of our senses.

Read more

Similar stories

Three NHSBT research units launch at University of Oxford

The NIHR has awarded three new Blood and Transplant Research Units (BTRUs) to the University of Oxford.

Fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose provides stronger immunity boost than third dose, shows UK study

COVID-19 vaccines given as fourth doses in the UK offer excellent boosting immunity protection, according to the latest results from a nationwide NIHR-supported study.

COVID-19’s high blood clot risk

A recent study of patient health records found that around 1 in 100 people with COVID-19 had a venal or arterial thrombosis, with rates higher still among males, and particularly for those hospitalised.

Medical Sciences Division receives REF 2021 results

Today the UK Funding Bodies have published the outcomes of the recent national research assessment exercise, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. REF is the UK-wide assessment of research in universities, and provides an expert evaluation of the quality of the research outputs, impact and environment at subject level in each university.

Oxford researchers part of major UK initiative to understand chronic pain

Oxford pain researchers are playing a major role in a new multi-million pound research programme launched by a consortium of funders, including UKRI, Versus Arthritis, Eli Lilly and the Medical Research Foundation.

Neither detection nor control of high blood pressure improved by self-monitoring during pregnancy

Self-monitoring of blood pressure during pregnancy neither results in earlier detection of high blood pressure, nor helps with blood pressure control in those who are pregnant, suggest the results of two new papers based on research from the University of Oxford and King’s College London (funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research).