Friday, July 23, 2010

Emotional vs. Intellectual



The more I get to know magic the more I realize that a magic effect can have either an emotional impact or an intellectual impact. Very few magic effects have both. Let me explain.

If you show a six of clubs and a 4 of clubs and you change both to the seven of clubs and the 3 of clubs, you have created the following effect: A pip moved from on card to the other. Both duos still add up to ten. That is an effect that is registered mostly on an intellectual level.

Here is an emotional one. A random card changes into the four aces. This effect is registered more on a gut level. It makes no sense but obviously something has happened.

Both effects usually go on: The first one usually has the seven of clubs and the three of clubs transformed into the ten of clubs, which is again pretty intellectual. The second effect usually has the first card being produced from the pocket, or reversed in the deck.... Again this makes no sense, but still gets great reactions despite the fact that it has no inner logic.

Now here is my theory... because emotional effects register on a gut level it never gets challenged by the brain and the lack of any motivation is never revealed. Short: People feel entertained.

Intellectual effects however are perceived in the brain, ergo do get challenged therefore any logical inconsistency gets noted.

What exactly makes up an emotional effect and what an intellectual one?

Well I guess it is the visuals. When you pull a bunch of spring flowers from a piece of silk nobody asks why... It just happens. Because the visuals and the impossibility are so overwhelming it reaches far deeper than just the mind. it goes to your heart.

Which.... implies that an emotional effect is stronger than an intellectual one.

So what am I saying?... Well how about this:

You don't need to motivate your effects if they are strong. All you need to motivate over and over again are the sleights and moves.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Gary Magic said...

I think you are 100% spot on. If you make most of your effects hit on an emotional level, you can throw in the odd intellectual type effect and these too will hit on an emotional level, do it the other way around and all of your effects may just come across as puzzles.

Excellent subject by the way!

Gary Jones.
www.garyjonesmagic.com