I spent an evening in the dressing room of
Howard Thurston the last time he appeared on Broadway - Thurston was the acknowledged dean of magicians. For forty years he had traveled all over the world, time and again, creating illusions, mystifying audiences, and making people gasp with astonishment. More than 60 million people had paid admission to his show, and he had made almost $2 million in profit. I asked Mr. Thurston to tell me the secret of his success.
His schooling certainly had nothing to do with it,
for he ran away from home as a small boy, became a
hobo, rode in boxcars, slept in haystacks, begged his
food from door to door, and learned to read by looking
- Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (get the full text here).out of boxcars at signs along the railway. Did he have a superior knowledge of magic? No, he told me hundreds of books had been written about legerdemain and scores of people knew as much about it as he did. But he had two things that the others didn't have. First, he had the ability to put his personality across the footlights. He was a master showman. He knew human nature. Everything he did, every gesture, every intonation of his voice, every lifting of an eyebrow had been carefully rehearsed in advance, and his actions were timed to split seconds. But, in addition to that, Thurston had a genuine interest in people.
|See also: the Wikipedia article for Cognitive Science|
After graduation I want to have some meaningful, and useful skills outside of a couple of degrees, which is why I am also trying to master a language while in college. A combination of these sentences and others is usually what my response is, and are dependant on what I think will impress the inquirer the most. If I had to give a straight answer, it would have to be that Cognitive Science is the study of stumli processing in the brain. How we process information, and insights that can lead us into human behaviour, biology, and psychology. On top of that, I just really want to do lab research.
My Cognitive Science major is not offered at my school. I was able to get it through the BDIC (bachelors degree of individual concentration) program which is offered through UMASS. I had to go through a lengthy process of paperwork, and I was not necessarily guaranteed to get into the program.I take a most of my Cognitice Science classes at Hampshire College, which actually has a school of Cognitive Science. While this does add to the legitimacy of the major, my German major advisor warned me that while he thinks Cognitive Science is a great thing to study, I may be met with skepticism from some Germans during the time I will be studying in Germany. I will be sure to let ypou all know how that goes when I cross that bridge. Whether or not you think Cognitive Science is important, consider this. Every person can interpret stimuli differently, and that is really important.
|1000 different people could see this painting 1000 different ways. Suspended Animation by Swarez.|
Another writer, over at the site Everyday Psychology had a great post about this:
An individual who is a heavy drug user is told by their family that they need to seek drug rehab in order to quit their drug use.
The individual may perceive their family's suggestion as either:The drug user may preceive their family's actions as an attempt to control their life, when in reality the family's actions are genuine concern. If you want to know how people think, you have to understand the reality they are perceiving. Some of my friends go as far as to say that colors are experienced differently by everyone. While I would not go as far as to say that (if certain colors mean the same thing to us, how can we see them as different?), it is possible that we each individually associate different good or bad memories with different colors.
1. Genuine concern, and be willing to undergo drug rehabilitation.2. An attempt to control their life, and refuse to undergo drug rehab.
This is why Cognitive Science is important. The master magician that can captivate an audience needs to understand people, the study of multiple fields and tying them together is important from the progression of scientific research, and finally the understanding of why we see things the way we do, whether these things be objects and images we interact with, or simply abstract concepts. Understanding these processes gives us insight into out evolutionary history as well as our nature.