Subconciously Knowing

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TheatreHead, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. As I do every time, I handed out the cards after performing Vernon's "Twisting the Aces". And, as usual, the spectators tried to pull the cards apart, then grope my arms looking for hidden cards etc. I encountered one specatator, however, when he was holding the cards, was asking me about my magic, and was fiddling the cards in a very peculiar way.

    He had the cards in his fingertips, and was counting the cards like an elmsley count. I kid you not. (this is bordering on exposure, but i couldn't think of any way to word it) He was doing the Elmsley count, except for the part where you take the 2 cards. So it was like he was counting 4 for 5.

    The strange thing was, he wasn't even concentrating on his hands, he was concentrating on the conversation he was having for me. He was just subconciously counting the cards like that, as if he was just fiddling. I was flipping out on the inside.
    But funnily enough, he was saying that he had absolutely no clue how I did the trick.

    Now, not to boast, but my Elmsley count is freaking tight. I do not perform until I can do a sleight perfectly. I have never been called out on my Elmsley count. There's no way he could have seen it, as I've pulled it off too many times to count, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is perfect.

    I just wonder if there is maybe a part of our brain that subconciously sees the tiny little moves. Or somehow our brain attempts to deduce what happened in the trick. Or maybe this guy was just an anomaly.

    This hasn't happened before, because most people take the cards, make sure they're not gaffed, or theres no dupes, and then hand them back, or pass them on. I didn't take the cards off this guy, because we were just chatting, and he was just fiddling with the cards. Pretty weird.

    Tell us what you think.
  2. You need to read a book about exactly what you're talking about called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell - it looks at those moments when people instinctively, subconsciously "know" something, and whilst they may not be able to explain it, nonetheless are simply able to get that gut feeling. It talks at length about how we know when we know, when to trust it and when to be wary, and how to control it to make the most use out of it. It's a very interesting book, you'd like it.
  3. Blink was an excellent book, and that is exactly what its about. I was about to recomend it, but
    praetoritevong beat me to it. Deffinitely worth picking up.

  4. You guys are way off.

    Blink is mainly about the subject of "thin-slicing"; man's ability to gauge what is really important from a very narrow period of experience.

    It has _nothing_ to do with the brain instinctively "knowing" - subconsciously picking up - how sleight of hand is done. If that was your interpretation of it, I would suggest a re-read.

    As for the original post, pretty sure the guy's an anomaly. The Elmsley count is popular and widely used for a reason ;) because it looks so normal. I'm sure some people would count cards the same as an Elmsley the same way some people would turn over the top card the same as a double lift.
  5. Quoted from the blurb of the book:

    "This book is all about those moments when we 'know' something without knowing why.

    From the introduction, page 10:

    " operates entirely below the surface of consciousness."

    From page 16:

    "Blink is concerned with the very smallest components of our everyday lives - the content and origin of those instantaneous impressions and conclusions that spontaneously arise..."

    From the conclusion, page 252:

    "Because we are often careless with our powers of rapid cognition."

    I could come up with dozens of quotes.

    What is thin-slicing but the process behind which the brain, subconsciously, makes snap decisions? In other words, the mechanism enabling the effect of subconsciously "knowing".

    If you didn't realise that, I suggest a re-read is in order.
  6. #6 mini magician, Aug 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2009
    Accually i think you might have to have a re read.
  7. #7 BlueBackedBikes, Aug 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2009
    You're very deceptively taking things out of context.

    Gladwell plainly sums up thin-slicing with: "... as human beings we are capable of making sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience." He extrapolates upon this (with limited evidence, usually just observations), saying that spontaneous decisions are often as good as—or even better than—carefully planned and considered ones. He delves into areas such as science, advertising, sales and even popular music to make his point. The book argues that intuitive judgment is developed by experience, training, and knowledge.

    Please-oh-please explain to me how that applies to a man duplicating how an Elmsley count looks. Let me act your part out:

    "You see, he subconsciously picked up on how I was counting cards and duplicated it. This was a physical manifestation of his subconscious trying to figure out the card trick -- he had picked up on my handling of the trick from just one viewing!"

    That may be. And I say "may" only because there's no statistically significant evidence to the contrary, so of course it's still possible. But don't try to support your unproven theories with pop psychology that's mostly a series of observations. Have you heard of the Observer-expectancy effect? I suggest some research. (and if you argue that Blink is not pop psychology, I will quote this line and have no further comment in this thread).
    Good one. I'm assuming you don't do comedy magic.
  8. #8 mini magician, Aug 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2009

    And i assume you do?

    There is no need for childish banter at this point. The subject is interesting and anyones input is helpful. Also remember the fact people have different ways of interpreting a book. You and someone else could see a book completely different. Like said above everyones input is helpful.

  9. I did not say that thin-slicing could explain the experience that the OP had. I have never suggested that it was a legitimate explanation for what he experienced either.

    What Blink does cover, however, is a subject very close to that which the OP considered as an explanation. Hence, I do not think it a mind-bendingly difficult concept to get one's mind around, to suggest Blink as a relevant extrapolation of that thought.

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