Penn and Teller explain sleight of hand in three minutes

February 4, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Penn and Teller’s explanation of sleight of hand is delightful. You get the whole lecture in about three minutes.

As entertaining as this video is, it could also serve to remind us of a set of principles by which humans deceive each others through fallacious and misleading arguments.   Because we are creatures of limited attention and growing fatigue, we are vulnerable to cognitive misdirection much as we are vulnerable to prestidigitation.

For more on human attentional limitations, see here.  Further, I have given considerable thought to the idea that much human decision-making could be explained in terms of attentional limitations.  For more, see this paper I wrote in 1996.


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Category: Entertainment, Psychology Cognition, Whimsy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Kenny Celican says:

    Have you ever read any of Boyd's work on the OODA Loop? It's a little hard to find (unless you're a Marine, they've more or less enshrined it) but it's a simplified yet meaningful analysis of sentient rational decision making.

    If you haven't, a quick google search will find the presentations. Boyd never put his work in essay or book format, but it doesn't really suffer from being in what amounts to PowerPoint.

    If you have, or if you take the time to hunt and read, either the "Observation" or "Orientation" phase of decision making is where I think the attention span would come in.

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