Misdirection | Joshua Jay || Radcliffe Institute


All right. There are two sections
of today’s event that I want to talk with
you and put the magic aside for a moment. And I want to illustrate
the first one with a trick that I am going to teach you. So let me show it to you
first and then– it’s a very simple trick. It’s almost a puzzle. And we’ll go through it. So I need everybody’s
participation in this. Everybody in the
room go like this. Now go with your pinkies up. Now cross one hand
over the other. And now lock your hands
together and don’t let go. Whatever you do, don’t let go. Now wiggle your thumbs. Good. That’s easy enough. Wiggle your pinkies. Here’s the tricky bit. Wiggle just your
right middle finger. Just the right one. It’s on the left side. There you go. Now wiggle your pinkies. Wiggle your thumb. Pinkies one more time. Good. Don’t let go. Do not let go. And here’s the rub. Here we go. On the count of three, do this– one, two, three. [LAUGHTER] Give yourselves a
little applause. [APPLAUSE] So I didn’t just fool you. You fooled yourself. I used a principle
that you’ve heard of, but you probably
don’t know intimately, which is misdirection. This is the magician’s
biggest tool– misdirection. Now, most of you will
have heard that term, but you may not be familiar
intimately with what it means. And I’m going to tell you. There are two kinds
of misdirection that magicians consider. There’s physical misdirection
and mental misdirection. Physical misdirection would be
actually distracting your eyes with something else. This is a big explosion. This could be a loud noise. This could be a
scantily clad assistant walking across the stage. There are many ways
to get your eyes to look somewhere else,
and more importantly, look away from what we
don’t want you to see. That’s physical misdirection. But a more interesting to
me kind of misdirection is mental misdirection. And that’s where I
distract your mind, so that you don’t
perceive what I’m doing. And I use the word
perceive because what’s so fascinating about
mental misdirection is you will often see the move, you
will see the secret technique. And I promise you,
all 500 of you did see the technique that
I just did, but none of you perceived it because you
were mentally misdirected. Now, this trick uses both
mental and physical misdirection and you will catch me this next
time, because I’ll point it out to you. But we are going to
do it one more time. So you ready to learn this? Hold your fingers out like this. Remember, I did this? Then I said, pinkies up. Then I said, cross one
hand over the other. And then I said, lock your
hands together and don’t let go. And I hope you didn’t. Now this is– this gets into
some rudimentary neuroscience here. If you’ve read
Thinking Fast and Slow, you know there are two systems– systems one and system two. System one is
breathing, blinking. You don’t have to
think about it. So I’m going to exercise
system one for you and then switch you over to
system two and make you think. So the first one’s easy. I say wiggle your pinkies
and you didn’t even have to look down to do it. You wiggle your pinkies. Then I said wiggle your thumbs. Again, you know where
your thumbs are. You know how to do that. No problem. But then I said, now wiggle
your right middle finger. And all of a sudden– this
isn’t rocket science– but it’s just tough
enough, it’s just difficult enough that you had
to give it a little thought. System two had to
come assist you. And when I say wiggle
your right middle finger, I pinpoint one unfortunate soul. It was you today. And I say, no, no, no,
on the right side– it’s on the left side. It’s the right one. There you go. And I came out. And when I went back in, I
went back in a different way. Now as soon as I do that,
I begin with scripting– and this is important. This is an equally
important point. As a magician, I have
to color in your memory and I can affect your memory. So what I say is remember
we’re not letting go. We never let go. I just let go. [LAUGHTER] So now we let
system one back in. Wiggle those pinkies
one more time. Wiggle the thumbs. Wiggle the pinkies. I’m putting time– time
displacement we call it. I put time between the secret
move and what I’m doing. And now I do this. Nobody else can do that. And you have a magic trick. [APPLAUSE]




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