April 9, 2014

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations will be given throughout the day beginning at 9:00 AM and end at 5:00 PM.

Located throughout the Kirkhof Center.

Poster Presentations

Posters will be displayed throughout the day beginning at 9:00 AM and ending at 5:00 PM. Student presenters will be available for at least one hour next to the poster.

Located in the Henry Hall Atrium and the Grand River Room of Kirkhof Center.

Panels, Performances, and more

There will be Panel Presentations, Film & Video Presentations, Art Exhibitions, and Performances throughout the day beginning at 9:00 AM and ending at 5:30 PM.

Located throughout the Mary Idema Pew Library; performances located in the Kirkhof Center.

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2014 SSD Abstract Book

Abstract Book

Click on the book cover to view.

Keynote Lecture: Sleights of Mind

7:00 PM (doors open at 6:30 PM)
Grand River Room, Kirkhof Center


Illusions are perceptual experiences that do not match the physical reality. Our perception of the outside world is generated indirectly by brain mechanisms, so all sensory perception is illusory to some extent. The study of illusions is critical to understanding the basic brain mechanisms of sensory perception, as well as to cure various neural diseases. The illusion community includes visual scientists, ophthalmologists, neurologists, painters, sculptors, mathematicians, graphic designers, and even magicians—each use a variety of methods to unveil the underpinnings of illusory perception. Magic tricks were cognitive illusions that fool us because humans have hardwired processes of attention and awareness that are hackable—a good magician uses your mind's own intrinsic properties against you in a form of mental jujitsu. The insights that magicians have gained over centuries of informal experimentation have led to new discoveries in the cognitive sciences, and they also reveal how our brains work in everyday situations. If you've ever bought an expensive item you'd sworn you'd never buy, the salesperson was probably a master at creating the "illusion of choice," a core technique of magic. The implications of "neuromagic" go beyond illuminating our behavior; early research points to new approaches for everything from the diagnosis of autism to marketing techniques and education.

Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde

Stephen L . Macknik, Ph.D. , is director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

Susana Martinez-Conde, Ph.D., is director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience at BNI.

Drs. Macknik and Martinez-Conde are members of the Academy of Magical Arts (aka the Magic Castle in Hollywood), the Magic Circle (UK), the Society of American Magicians, and the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde are Laboratory Directors at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ. They are award-winning scientists in their field, and they are the founders of the exciting new discipline of neuromagic. In their new book Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions (published in 20 foreign editions and over 100 countries) they have convinced some of the world's greatest magicians to reveal their techniques for tricking the brain. It was recently awarded The Prisma Prize for Best Science Book of the Year (out of 100+ contributors). The Evening Standard (London) listed it as one of the 36 Best Books of the Year.

Stephen and Susana are columnists for Scientific American Mind, the world’s premier lay magazine of mind and brain. Their fascinating work has taken them on a multi-year, worldwide exploration of illusions as well as magic and its ancient principles, and how they can be explained using the latest findings of cognitive neuroscience. The secrets behind illusions and magic tricks reveal how your brain works not only when experiencing entertainment, but also in everyday situations. Do not miss their new Special Issue currently on newsstands featuring 20 articles from their column.

Stephen and Susana are among the premier science communicators in the United States and have made television appearances on National Geographic Channel’s Redesign My Brain,  Discovery Channel’s Head GamesThe Daily Planet, and The STEM JournalsPBS’s NOVA:scienceNow, and CBS Sunday Morning, just to name a few. They’ve also appeared on dozens of radio shows including NPR’s Science Friday and the Colin McEnroe ShowPRI’s The World, and many more.

Susana and Stephen’s research and scientific outreach activities have been featured in print in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among hundreds of media stories all around the world. They’ve given over 100 public presentations about their work and they have published over 100 articles in some of the most prestigious academic journals in the world, including Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.