Gustav Kuhn

Gustav Kuhn is Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a member of the Magic Circle.

  • Experiencing the Impossible

    Experiencing the Impossible

    The Science of Magic

    Gustav Kuhn

    How the scientific study of magic reveals intriguing—and often unsettling—insights into the mysteries of the human mind.

    What do we see when we watch a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat or read a person's mind? We are captivated by an illusion; we applaud the fact that we have been fooled. Why do we enjoy experiencing what seems clearly impossible, or at least beyond our powers of explanation? In Experiencing the Impossible, Gustav Kuhn examines the psychological processes that underpin our experience of magic. Kuhn, a psychologist and a magician, reveals the intriguing—and often unsettling—insights into the human mind that the scientific study of magic provides.

    Magic, Kuhn explains, creates a cognitive conflict between what we believe to be true (for example, a rabbit could not be in that hat) and what we experience (a rabbit has just come out of that hat!). Drawing on the latest psychological, neurological, and philosophical research, he suggests that misdirection is at the heart of all magic tricks, and he offers a scientific theory of misdirection. He explores, among other topics, our propensity for magical thinking, the malleability of our perceptual experiences, forgetting and misremembering, free will and mind control, and how magic is applied outside entertaiment—the use of illusion in human-computer interaction, politics, warfare, and elsewhere.

    We may be surprised to learn how little of the world we actually perceive, how little we can trust what we see and remember, and how little we are in charge of our thoughts and actions. Exploring magic, Kuhn illuminates the complex—and almost magical—mechanisms underlying our daily activities.

    • Hardcover $27.95

Contributor

  • The Handbook of Attention

    The Handbook of Attention

    Jonathan Fawcett, Evan Risko, and Alan Kingstone

    An authoritative overview of current research on human attention, emphasizing the relation between cognitive phenomena observed in the laboratory and in the real world.

    Laboratory research on human attention has often been conducted under conditions that bear little resemblance to the complexity of our everyday lives. Although this research has yielded interesting discoveries, few scholars have truly connected these findings to natural experiences. This book bridges the gap between “laboratory and life” by bringing together cutting-edge research using traditional methodologies with research that focuses on attention in everyday contexts. It offers definitive reviews by both established and rising research stars on foundational topics such as visual attention and cognitive control, underrepresented domains such as auditory and temporal attention, and emerging areas of investigation such as mind wandering and embodied attention.

    The contributors discuss a range of approaches and methodologies, including psychophysics, mental chronometry, stationary and mobile eye-tracking, and electrophysiological and functional brain imaging. Chapters on everyday attention consider such diverse activities as driving, shopping, reading, multitasking, and playing videogames. All chapters present their topics in the same overall format: historical context, current research, the possible integration of laboratory and real-world approaches, future directions, and key and outstanding issues.

    Contributors Richard A. Abrams, Lewis Baker, Daphne Bavelier, Virginia Best, Adam B. Blake, Paul W. Burgess, Alan D. Castel, Karen Collins, Mike J. Dixon, Sidney K. D'Mello, Julia Föcker, Charles L. Folk, Tom Foulsham, Jonathan A. Fugelsang, Bradley S. Gibson, Matthias S. Gobel, Davood G. Gozli, Arthur C. Graesser, Peter A. Hancock, Kevin A. Harrigan, Simone G. Heideman, Cristy Ho, Roxane J. Itier, Gustav Kuhn, Michael F. Land, Mallorie Leinenger, Daniel Levin, Steven J. Luck, Gerald Matthews, Daniel Memmert, Stephen Monsell, Meeneley Nazarian, Anna C. Nobre, Andrew M. Olney, Kerri Pickel, Jay Pratt, Keith Rayner, Daniel C. Richardson, Evan F. Risko, Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, Vivian Siu, Jonathan Smallwood, Charles Spence, David Strayer, Pedro Sztybel, Benjamin W. Tatler, Eric T. Taylor, Jeff Templeton, Robert Teszka, Michel Wedel, Blaire J. Weidler, Lisa Wojtowicz, Jeremy M. Wolfe, Geoffrey F. Woodman

    • Hardcover $70.00