The entertainment industry has been utilizing magic as a means of providing mystique and fun to audiences for ages. However, according to researchers, magic could be used as a way to help individuals diagnosed with autism. Researchers speculate people with autism can benefit from watching and understanding what magicians do because of the social cues involved in performing magic tricks.
The videos associated with this post (found on the class blog) show a magic trick done by world renowned magicians Penn and Teller. The routine usually fools people, as we tend to focus more on the flourishes of the magicians rather than the execution of the trick itself. Scientists believe our brains omit details crucial to understanding the magic trick, and only focus on the special motions made by magicians. While the majority of the population might be fooled, those on the autism spectrum ignore the social cues and focus specifically on the magician’s hands.
I believe there could be a link between understanding magic and an individual with autism developing stronger social skills. My older sister was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and I could see her benefiting from magic. On another note, I have heard of hypnosis being used as therapy for those on the autism spectrum. There seems to be many holistic methods for helping people with autism, yet using magic to teach rather than cure seems significantly more useful.