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  • For some time I have been interested in

  • the placebo effect,

  • which might seem like an odd thing

  • for a magician to be interested in,

  • unless you think of it in the terms that I do,

  • which is, "Something fake

  • is believed in enough by somebody

  • that it becomes something real."

  • In other words, sugar pills

  • have a measurable effect in certain kinds of studies,

  • the placebo effect,

  • just because the person thinks

  • that what's happening to them is a pharmaceutical

  • or some sort of a --

  • for pain management, for example,

  • if they believe it enough there is a measurable effect in the body

  • called the placebo effect.

  • Something fake becomes

  • something real

  • because of someone's perception of it.

  • In order for us to understand each other,

  • I want to start by showing you a rudimentary,

  • very simple magic trick.

  • And I'm going to show you how it works. This is a trick

  • that's been in every children's magic book since at least the 1950s.

  • I learned it myself from Cub Scout Magic in the 1970s.

  • I'll do it for you, and then I'll explain it.

  • And then I'll explain why I explained it.

  • So, here's what happens.

  • The knife, which you can examine; my hand, which you could examine.

  • I'm just going to hold the knife in my fist like this.

  • I'll get my sleeve back.

  • And to make sure nothing goes up or down my sleeve

  • I'm just going to squeeze my wrist right here.

  • That way you can see that at no time

  • can anything travel, as long as I'm squeezing there

  • nothing can go up or down my sleeve.

  • And the object of this is quite simple.

  • I'm going to open my hand,

  • and hopefully, if all is well,

  • my pure animal magnetism will hold the knife.

  • In fact it's held so tightly in place

  • that I can shake it,

  • and the knife does not come off.

  • Nothing goes up or down my sleeve,

  • no trickery. And you can examine everything.

  • Ta-da!

  • (Applause)

  • So, this is a trick that I often teach to young children

  • that are interested in magic, because you can learn

  • a great deal about deception by studying

  • this very -- even though it's a very simple trick methodologically.

  • Probably many of you in the room know this trick.

  • What happens is this.

  • I hold the knife in my hand.

  • I say I'm going to grab hold of my wrist

  • to make sure nothing goes up or down my sleeve,

  • that is a lie.

  • The reason I'm holding onto my wrist

  • is because that's actually the secret

  • of the illusion.

  • In a moment when my hand moves from facing you

  • to being away from you,

  • this finger right here, my index finger is just going to shift

  • from where it is, to a position

  • pointing out like this.

  • Nice one.

  • Someone who didn't have a childhood is out there.

  • (Laughter)

  • So, it goes like this, from here, right.

  • And as I move around my finger shifts.

  • And we could talk about why this is deceptive,

  • why you don't notice there are only three fingers down here,

  • because the mind, and the way it processes information,

  • it doesn't count, one, two, three. It groups them.

  • But that's not really what this is about. Right? And then I open my hand up.

  • Obviously it's clinging there, not by animal magnetism,

  • but by chicanery,

  • my index finger being there.

  • And then when I close my finger, same thing,

  • as I move back, this motion

  • kind of covers the moving back of my finger.

  • I take this hand away. You give the knife out.

  • There is a trick you can do for your friends and neighbors. Thanks.

  • Now, (Laughter)

  • what does that have to do with the placebo effect?

  • I read a study a year or so ago

  • that really blew my mind wide open.

  • I'm not a doctor or a researcher, so this, to me,

  • was an astonishing thing.

  • It turns out that if you administer

  • a placebo in the form of a white pill,

  • that's like aspirin shaped --

  • it's just a round white pill -- it has some certain measurable effect.

  • But if you change the form that you give the placebo in,

  • like you make a smaller pill,

  • and color it blue, and stamp a letter into it,

  • it is actually measurably more effective.

  • Even though neither one of these things

  • has any pharmaceutical -- they're sugar pills.

  • But a white pill is not as good as a blue pill.

  • What? (Laughter) That really flipped me out.

  • Turns out though, that that's not even where it stops.

  • If you have capsules,

  • they're more effective than tablets in any form.

  • A colored capsule, that's yellow on one end and red on the other

  • is better than a white capsule.

  • Dosage has something to do with this.

  • One pill twice a day

  • is not as good at three pills --

  • I don't remember the statistic now. Sorry.

  • But the point is ...

  • (Laughter) ... these dosages have something to do with it.

  • And the form has something to do with it.

  • And if you want the ultimate in placebo,

  • you've go to the needle.

  • Right? A syringe with some inert --

  • a couple CCs of some inert something,

  • and you inject this into a patient ...

  • Well this is such a powerful image in their mind,

  • it's so much stronger than the white pill.

  • It's a really, this graph, well I'll show it to you

  • some other time when we have slides.

  • The point is

  • the white pill is not as good as the blue pill

  • is not as good as the capsule is not as good as the needle.

  • And none of it has any real pharmaceutical quality,

  • it's only your belief that makes it real

  • in your body and makes a stronger effect.

  • I wanted to see if I could take that idea

  • and apply it to a magic trick.

  • And take something that is obviously a fake trick

  • and make it seem real.

  • And we know from that study

  • that when you want reality, you go to the needle.

  • This is a seven-inch hatpin. It's very, very sharp,

  • and I'm going to just sterilize it a tiny bit.

  • This is really my flesh. This is not

  • Damian's special-grown flesh.

  • That's my skin right there. This is not a Hollywood special effect.

  • I'm going to pierce my skin

  • and run this needle through to the other side.

  • If you're queasy -- (Laughs)

  • if you faint easily -- I was doing this for some friends

  • in the hotel room last night, and some people that I didn't know,

  • and one woman almost passed out.

  • So, I suggest if you get queasy easy

  • that you look away for about the next 30 --

  • in fact, you know what, I'll do the first bad part behind it.

  • You'll get to see, you can look away too if you'd like to.

  • So, here is what happens, right here,

  • the beginning of my flesh

  • at the lower part of my arm I just make

  • a little pierce.

  • I'm sorry, man. Am I freaking you out?

  • OK, and then just through my skin a tiny bit,

  • and then out the other side like this.

  • Now, essentially we're in the same position we were in

  • with the knife trick.

  • (Laughter)

  • Sort of.

  • But you can't count my fingers right now can you?

  • So, let me show them to you. That's one, two

  • three, four, five.

  • Yes, well...

  • I know what people think when they see this.

  • They go, "Well, he's certainly not dumb enough

  • to stab himself through the skin to entertain us for a few minutes.

  • So, let me give you a little peek.

  • How's that look out there? Pretty good.

  • (Laughs)

  • Yeah, I know. (Laughs)

  • And the people in the back go, "OK, I didn't really see that."

  • People in the satellite room are starting to move in now.

  • Let me give you good close look at this.

  • That really is my skin. That is not a Hollywood special effect.

  • That's my flesh, and I can twist that around.

  • I'm sorry. If you're getting queasy, look away,

  • don't look at the thing.

  • People in the back or people on video years from now watching this

  • will go, "Well yeah, that looks kind of neat

  • in some sort of effect there, but if it were real he would be --

  • see there's a hole there and a hole there, if it were real he would be bleeding.

  • Well let me work up some blood for you.

  • (Laughter)

  • Yes, there it is.

  • (Applause)

  • (Laughter)

  • Normally now, I would take the needle out.

  • I would clean off my arm, and I would show you that there are no wounds.

  • But I think in this context

  • and with the idea of taking something fake

  • and making it into something real,

  • I'm just going to leave it there,

  • and walk off the stage.

  • (Laughter)

  • I will be seeing you several times over the next few days.

  • I hope you're looking forward to that. Thank you very much.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

For some time I have been interested in

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A2 US TED placebo pill effect trick knife

【TED】Eric Mead: The magic of the placebo (Eric Mead: The magic of the placebo)

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    Zenn posted on 2017/11/25
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