Teacher’s Questions for Neuromagic feature


Before reading:

1. Have you ever fooled someone with a magic trick, or been fooled by one yourself? How do you suppose that happened? Describe what you know about how magicians trick viewers.

During reading:

  1. Describe what perception is.
  2. What is an illusion? Give an example.
  3. Explain how magicians fool audiences with tricks like the one where a woman on stage appears to be sawed in half?
  4. Explain what the optic nerve does.
  5. Why do your eyes produce clearer images than an iPhone?
  6. Why doesn’t the human brain process all of the information that the eyes take in?
  7. In the coin toss trick, why is it important for the magician to first toss a coin up and down in front of viewers?
  8. Explain why some viewers don’t see the coin move across the place mat during Anthony Barnhart’s trick. What word describes the tactic used by Barnhart to draw viewers’ attention toward where he wants it (and away from where he doesn’t want it)?
  9. List three ways that magicians control viewers’ attention.
  10. According to Barnhart, what is one thing viewers can do to lessen their chance of being fooled by a magic trick?

After reading:

  1. Were you surprised to learn that your reality is partly “filled-in” by your brain? Explain your answer.
  2. If you participated in the “invisible gorilla” experiment, do you think you would notice the person dressed in an ape costume? Explain your answer.


  1. Describe how two real-world, everyday situations could benefit from research on magic tricks.