Magic tricks, like those by Derren Brown and David Blaine, should be studied more closely to gain a deeper knowledge of the way human beings think and act, according to new research.

Elements of human cognition and perception that are not yet fully understood by scientists may receive greater insight by analyzing tricks and techniques used by magicians, a new study finds.
These techniques, which have been developed over thousands of years, offer powerful tools to manipulate our perception.

The findings have potential long-term applications in activities which aim to grab — and hold — people's attention, such as human-computer interfaces which are thought to become increasingly more complicated.

The study, by researchers from Durham University and the University of British Columbia, is published online in the academic journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

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