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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Why do kids love magic tricks so much? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

LVMagicAL
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As I was perusing the front page of MSN this morning, an article title caught my eye: "Why do kids love magic tricks so much?" While it's not a masters thesis or expose` on the topic, it was an interesting 2 page read and I thought I'd share the article with the fraternity. Check it out here: http://www.slate.com/id/2233986/?gt1=38001
Skip Way
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Thanks, Al! An interesting piece to add to my files.

And, personally, I would have been delighted to see Simon's sketch and would have complimented him on his creativity. Magic Dan needs to lighten up! Smile
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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Tony James
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It is interesting and well worth reading.

What is even more interesting is that if you read Open Sesame - the original British book on magic and children's entertaining and one which British entertainers always suggest you might read to advantage - there in Open Sesame you will find a précis of this article.

Not this exact article of course nor this particular research but a summary of the long experience of Eric Lewis and Wilf Tyler and their conclusions which mirror those of these findings. These two foremost British children's entertainers certainly knew their business.

Even more interesting is that Open Sesame was published in July 1947 which just goes to prove something perhaps not fully appreciated by researcher Laura Schulz, that little has changed in the last 60 years and very possibly not for the last 600 nor even 6000 years.

Nor were Lewis and Tyler 'professors of cognitive science' - like you and me they were simply observant and thinking entertainers who studied and throughly understood their art.

Still, it's nice to know when we're right, isn't it?
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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I will try to get a copy of this book. (Written in 1947)

There is gold in old books and manuscripts.

Thanks...

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
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TonyB2009
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I'm sorry to disagree, but I found the article a bit trivial and under-researched. As a former journalist myself I know the type - something thrown togethger in a hurry, with no great insight.
Mr. Woolery
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Tony-

When I was getting my degree in Broadcast Journalism, there was one student who put it in a nutshell better than anyone else I have ever heard, before or since. She asked another student whether he had "left his chair" to write his article. Since then, that's been my question with any book or article that claims to be journalism. Did the author leave his chair in order to write this?

-Patrick
LVMagicAL
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Once again, obviously not a thesis or in-depth analysis of why kids love magic, but an observation supported by some psychological theory. I wasn't suggesting this to be a final word on why kids love magic, but simply an interesting read that makes us think a bit.
TonyB2009
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Quote:
On 2009-11-02 15:55, Mr. Woolery wrote:
When I was getting my degree in Broadcast Journalism, there was one student who put it in a nutshell better than anyone else I have ever heard, before or since. She asked another student whether he had "left his chair" to write his article.
-Patrick

Patrick, that is a brilliant image. And it sums up so much of journalism. Thanks.
Tony.
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LVmagicAL - I have to say it does exactly what you intended. It got me thinking. I especially love the bit about the kid figuring out the dove pan. Sort of like the old "too-perfect" theory that states that if the illusion is too perfect, the only explanation left has to be the actual explanation. How else would you make bunny happen in a pan full of eggs? Thank you for the article because it really did make me think. My wife forwarded it to me right after I read it following your link! Thanks!

Tony - I have applied that standard to so many books and articles it isn't even funny. I have an older book of college pranks and the author is a real journalist who also manages to debunk several legendary pranks that never really happened. A more recent book of hoaxes I got from the library presents a couple of the thoroughly-debunked hoakes as fact. When comparing them, my wife and I realized that the more recent book was probably written with all the research done on the internet. All. No need to talk to any real people, take your own photos, ask questions at all. Never left his seat.

I run across magic books in the mass-consumption stores in their magic and games section and realize the authors don't know jack about magic at all. They are essentially taking a bunch of tricks from older books, rewriting them, and claiming to have written books on magic. In some cases, the tricks are lame, in others the tricks might be decent but there is just something that says "this guy has never actually done this trick for any sort of audience at all." Never left his seat to write that one, either.

-Patrick
BIGmagiclV
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I actually found this article on another thread but I have to say, it really didn't make me think. Anyone who has been in the business for awhile and has done more than 10 shows knows the conclusions of the article, if not the actual "scientific theory" behind it.
Instead of making me think, it actually bothered me. It lumped every kid together and most of us know that although there are generalizations to be made, its a fact that some kids want to demonstrate their knowing how its done and some just like to go with the magic. This article gave me nothing new. Even if a kid thinks he knows how something is accomplished chances are he would be wrong. It doesn't stop them from yelling. Those are just kids who need attention and will be vocal in trying to get it.
LVMagicAL
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I'll suppress the urge to get into a theoretical debate with those who weren't motivated to think about their own performance styles and abilities as a result of the article. I will silently smile at the thought that in an effort to simply offer up an article published in the (relatively) mainstream press to my colleagues, as a by-product, I was able to bother BIGmagiclV...and I didn't even intend to do so.

With so much white space in so many different medium to be filled with articles these days, I'm just pleased to read a story which, in a relatively light-hearted way, highlights magic for magic's sake, and not a story about a kids magician being accused of some sort of criminal activity.

It's not a text-book and it's not the final word. Just one persons view of an event which happened in her life which caused her to think a little bit. If it makes you think a bit about your performance, style and methodology then great. If it doesn't....well, then let it go and move on.

As an example, Chris Capehart's approaches to kid show performing bothers me, but I don't let that get in my way of thinking about what he does and why or how he does it. I'm not going to be publicly critical of him or his way of performing...he certainly has more experience and success in kid-show performing than I do. But while I don't think I could perform in a similar fashion, I DO think about what he does and I can learn from his willingness to share his viewpoints and experiences with the fraternity.

All I was hoping to do was share an article that is apparently being published in some mass media outlets and offering it up to those who share an enthusiasm for performing for kids. Some will get something out of it, others won't. That's OK. If you're one of those who doesn't....let it go. There will be something to read tomorrow that you will get something out of...and other won't. That's all I'm saying....I don't care where you're from! (Inside joke, there.....)
BIGmagiclV
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Your thread didn't bother me, LV. As a matter of fact, I believe I mentioned I had read the same article in a thread that was posted before yours. Just recently before yours, as I recall. Maybe I should have posted my thoughts on that thread. I would assume the original poster wouldn't have taken my general post so personally. Oh well, LV and learn!
Dennis Michael
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The article was mixed with points that can be challenged. For instance, I tell the kids up front to speak out. The mother "hissed" her child, which I don't like in my show. My show would be a flop if the kids said nothing. Every kid knows how every trick is done just ask them, they may be lucky and guess right. Problem Solving is what they must do to grow mentally. It is as natural as an apple falling to the ground from a tree.

Yes, the article is interesting but so much is left out, regarding entertaining children. I have learned so much from attending the KIDabra International Conference and from the members of our Local KIDabra Chapter. There are a couple of great book on theory, yet, there are rules which are meant to be broken.

Chris Capehart is a great example of breaking the rules and getting away with it. He receive numerous standing ovations for his style of entertaining children at the KIDabra International conference. Every person who tried to do what he did flopped. Only Chris can get away with what he does. After his performance he was followed by Terry Herbert who said "not to do" pretty much of what Chris did. The point here is yes, there are rules but break them at your own risk! What is acceptable in NYC, is not acceptable in Pigeon Forge, TN, the bible belt area.

Why do kids love magic? Simple because they love puzzels and are going though problem solving stage of their life. They have not matured to a stage where shouting out at the performed is a "No-No". They love being the center of attention. They love "knowing-it-all" (See your teenager about that). They want to be involved. They still believe in fantasy (Santa, Easter Bunny, "Magic is Real"). They love animals. They LOVE to laugh and have a strong desire to have fun and so forth.

It's up to us to understand their needs and give it to them. (Fulfill those wants and needs) The article only scratched the surface.
Dennis Michael
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Earlier I was responding to a book on Children's Magic,(which I did order) and now I just finished reading the article.

As someone who participated in infant research,(as a college student,not a baby) I found it interesting. We did studies on what did hold babies attention. A major problem was having a baby start to cry, need changing or some other "misdirection" that did not allow the baby to finish the "exam". The study included things like fruits versus faces. Faces versus the babies mothers face.

My earliest memory was the magic of puppetry rather than magic. Perhaps that is why my show is "puppet heavy".

Harris
he's not heavy he's my puppet
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Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
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