Science of Magic Association
 
 
 
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about SOMA

The Science of Magic Association (SOMA) promotes rigorous research directed toward understanding the nature, function, and underlying mechanisms of magic.

SOMA provides a platform for discussion and  dissemination of research and ideas on magic.

 

SOMA is an inclusive organization that welcomes members with diverse backgrounds including science and technology, humanities, practicing magicians, and individuals who are simply interested in science and magic.

 

We proud to be partnered with Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques (FISM) and sponsored by Magicana and Abracademy

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Research

 

Interest in magic methods can be traced back throughout recorded history, but in the past 15 years, the Science of Magic has recently been undergoing a renaissance.

The Westcar Papyrus dates to around the 18th Century BCE and seems to tell the story of a magician performing 'miracles' in the court of the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu. While the story is probably best considered as a fairy tale  rather than a historical account , it nonetheless shows that the idea of performing miraculous tricks for audiences dates back to some of the world's earliest written records.

The Westcar Papyrus dates to around the 18th Century BCE and seems to tell the story of a magician performing 'miracles' in the court of the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu. While the story is probably best considered as a fairy tale rather than a historical account, it nonetheless shows that the idea of performing miraculous tricks for audiences dates back to some of the world's earliest written records.

 
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Classic Misdirection depicted in Heironymus Bosch's 'The Conjurer"

Classic Misdirection depicted in Heironymus Bosch's 'The Conjurer"

 

Since the year 2000, the body of experimental scientific literature on the topic of performance magic has more than quadrupled. To date, 77 empirical papers have been published on the topic of adult perceptions of magic tricks within the last 17 years, compared to the 12 that were published in the preceding century, between 1887 and 1999. The idea of investigating the psychology of magic is not new (indeed it arguably dates back to the earliest days of experimental psychology), but this recent level of interest is historically unprecedented.

 

Many of these new studies are currently available as OpenAccess articles: check-out Frontiers in Psychology’s Special Issue titled: Psychology of Magic and the Magic of Psychology.

You can also sign-up to our newsletter to receive a free bibliography listing every published empirical study of  adult perceptions of magic tricks. 

 

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Tickets are now Available for the Soma Summer Seminar

We will be holding a seminar showcasing some of the ways that contemporary academics have been using magic to drive and communicate research in perception, cognition, and psychological wellbeing.

The seminar will feature an eclectic array of speakers all of whom are conducting research inspired by the art of magic. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of what it’s like to conduct research within the science of magic.

Venue: The Wellcome Collection

Date: August 31

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Thanks to everyone who contributed to our 2019 CONFERENCE!

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Our latest conference took place in at the Chicago Magic Lounge in the summer of 2019. This conference brought together academics, researchers and magicians from around the world and featured top keynote speakers, presentations on recent research, a poster session, and a gala show.

Special thanks to our Gala Show performers Mac King , Ginny and Simon Aronson, Jeanette Andrews, Mister Danny, Tom Stone, and to our keynote speakers Professor Elizabeth Loftus and Professor Dan Simons, and our Guest of Honor Simon Aronson.

 
 
 

The S.o.m.A. Committee