Bethany Lindsay at the Vancouver Sun:
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Can questions about something as fundamental as the existence of free will be answered with a simple magic trick?
It may sound strange, but a new study from researchers in Vancouver and Montreal uses magicians’ mind tricks as a gateway to exploring human consciousness and decision-making.
In a street magic experiment, lead author Jay Olson asked 118 strangers to pick a random card as he riffled through the pack, intentionally showing one card for longer than the rest.
The results were remarkable. Ninety-eight per cent of people picked the target card, and an impressive 91 per cent believed that they had made that choice freely, without any influence from the magician.
“It was pretty cool,” said co-author Ronald Rensink, a psychology and computer science professor at UBC. “This would seem to be supporting the view that your conscious mind doesn’t really decide.