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The current task's flexibility also allows for manipulations to address Memmert's (2010) three other critiques. A distractor task (stimuli appearing within the cups) can easily be added to the video to increase participants' attentional workload. The magical methodology employed to move the item from one location to another can be adapted such that the moving object is not the object that was originally covered with a napkin (e.g., a copper coin moves across the mat after a silver coin was placed beneath a napkin). Thus, the identity of the IB stimulus would not be foreshadowed or integral to the narrative of the presentation, unlike the stimulus in most attentional misdirection tasks.
Magicians use several techniques to deceive their audiences, including, for example, the misdirection of attention and verbal suggestion. We explored another potential stratagem, namely the relaxation of attention. Participants watched a video of a highly skilled magician whilst having their eye-blinks recorded. The timing of spontaneous eye-blinks was highly synchronized across participants. In addition, the synchronized blinks frequency occurred immediately after a seemingly impossible feat, and often coincided with actions that the magician wanted to conceal from the audience. Given that blinking is associated with the relaxation of attention, these findings suggest that blinking plays an important role in the perception of magic, and that magicians may utilize blinking and the relaxation of attention to hide certain secret actions. 2b1af7f3a8