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Neuroscience and Society Series: Illusion

, Washington, DC

Now You See it, Now You Don't. Is Anything Really as it Seems? The Science of Illusion

Do you believe what you see? Do you trust your senses? These are just some of the questions posed by illusion, where confusion and clarity often merge and where what we perceive can be hugely different from physical reality. Since the brain is responsible for interpreting what our senses are telling us, as well as what we dream and what we remember or forget, the real and imagined share the same neural system. So when we experience an illusion, we may sense something that is not present or fail to see something that is. By studying this disconnect between perception and reality, scientists can learn about brain function and its relevance to mental health, decision making and the way we view ourselves and others.

Please join us for an evening that promises to reveal much about how the brain enables us to sense the world around us. The event includes a performance by Alain Nu, an illusionist, about whom the Washington Post wrote, he will leave “audiences asking, ‘How’d he do that?’ But Nu also wants them to think about the ‘powers of the mind’ in hopes it will ‘lead to personal inspiration about your own powers and abilities’.”  Also on the program are psychiatrist and author Richard Restak, and Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, scientists who study various aspects of visual, sensory and cognitive neuroscience.


Alain Nu, The Man Who Knows

Stephen L. Macknik, Ph.D. & Susana Martinez-Conde, Ph.D., Professors of Ophthalmology, Neurology, and Physiology & Pharmacology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, New York City, and authors of Sleights of Mind, a book on the neuroscience of magic

Richard Restak, M.D., Clinical Professor of Neurology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Order of Merlin