American magician-turned-psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins completed his DPhil in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. He is currently a Visiting Academic at The Queen’s College Oxford and also works as a freelance writer. His research, which has been featured across various international media outlets including the Washington Post and BBC Future, focuses on the cognitive psychology of illusions. Matt worked as professional magician before he began his academic career, and his experiences performing continue to influence his work. He is the first member of The Magic Circle to have been admitted on the basis of a peer-reviewed scientific publication. His new book The Spectacle of Illusion explores the historical and contemporary relationships between scientists magicians and fraudulent mystics.
Matt will discuss how magic played a weird but fundamental role in the in the establishment of psychology as a scientific discipline, and how he and other contemporary researchers have been using magic tricks to create new experiments in order to investigate human memory perception and reasoning.