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Journal Article

Scientific Study of Magic: Binet's Pioneering Approach Based on Observations and Chronophotography

Cyril Thomas, André Didierjean and Serge Nicolas
The American Journal of Psychology
Vol. 129, No. 3 (Fall 2016), pp. 313-326
DOI: 10.5406/amerjpsyc.129.3.0313
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/amerjpsyc.129.3.0313
Page Count: 14
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Scientific Study of Magic: Binet's Pioneering Approach Based on Observations and Chronophotography
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Abstract

In 1894, French psychologist Alfred Binet (1857–1911) published an article titled “The Psychology of Prestidigitation” that reported the results of a study conducted in collaboration with two of the best magicians of that period. By using a new method and new observation techniques, Binet was able to reveal some of the psychological mechanisms involved in magic tricks. Our article begins by presenting Binet's method and the principal professional magicians who participated in his studies. Next, we present the main psychological tools of magicians described by Binet and look at some recent studies dealing with those mechanisms. Finally, we take a look at the innovative technique used by Binet for his study on magic: the chronophotograph.

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