The Eyes Have It: Eyes as a Window to Cognition

by Tony Barnhart

Filmed at Ignite Phoenix

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We are keenly aware of other peoples shifts in visual attention, and often find ourselves compelled to change our focus to match that of others. In fact, it has been posited that we evolved large sclera (the whites of our eyes) to facilitate this ability. The exploitation of this tendency is one of the strongest tools in the arsenal of the magician and provides the foundation for misdirection. In my talk, I will demonstrate how magicians take advantage of joint attention, and I will discuss a number of recent advances in cognitive psychology that suggest the eyes can reveal some of our inner-most thoughts.

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