Your Attention Spotlight and the Art of Picking Pockets

Apollo Robbins is a master pickpocket, but he uses his skills (as far as I know) in the service of entertainment rather than crime. Probably more lucrative, anyway.

In this video he shows Adam Green how it’s done. As Green says, it’s often a disappointment to reveal the techniques behind magic tricks, but in this case you come away more impressed by the performance than by the result. All magicians are amateur (but highly skilled) neuroscientists.

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11 Responses to Your Attention Spotlight and the Art of Picking Pockets

  1. ed hessler says:

    I’m glad you posted the video for it forced me–acted as a nudge to view it. I enjoyed trying to visualize the process after reading about it in the wonderful and wonder filled essay in The New Yorker (January 7, 2013). The view only deepens the mystery and appreciate the skill of Ap0llo Green. The connections of magic tricks and neuroscience are briefly touched on in the essay. I checked to see whether it is on-line so include the URL, hoping it works for one and all: ( ).

    Thanks.

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  2. Clayton says:

    The whole thing was ruined because the video was so dark. It doesn’t seem that mysterious with such bad lighting – anything seems possible in those conditions.

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  3. Tony Rtz says:

    So, I know, you think that many so called miracles are magic. Is that what you are getting at? Well it’s true, there is some of that, that is misdirected people trying to prove the existence of God through a miracle that is a lie, and it is wrong, the existence of God cannot be proven, simply cannot be. I will not prove the existence of God for you or anyone else, because I cannot. I shouldn’t even write about this on your blog, unless you would still desire such, but since it seems that fundamental Physics seeks to disprove God’s existence, at least in your view, someone should be on Gods side.

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  4. Tony Rtz says:

    A fascinating video, pickpockets have to know a little physics but also how the human mind perceives its environment and its psychological sense of touch.

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  5. Thomas says:

    Fantastic. And he’s such a gentleman with a warm and soothing voice, a striking combination of skills indeed.

    By the way, is older but also quite nice.

    PS: “All magicians are amateur (but highly skilled) neuroscientists”. True, although I would say “cognitive scientists”.

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  6. Thomas says:

    (sorry for repost)
    Fantastic. And he’s such a gentleman with a warm and soothing voice, a striking combination of skills indeed.

    By the way, this is older but also quite nice.

    PS: “All magicians are amateur (but highly skilled) neuroscientists”. True, although I would say “cognitive scientists”.

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  7. Tony Rz says:

    I see that London now has an Atheist church. How about those commandments?

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  8. Tony Rtz says:

    Speaking of the Atheist church in London I don’t believe services will be held daily, but you should check this out.

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  9. Tony Rtz says:

    Sorry for my last post.

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  11. Matt says:

    It’s never bothered me to have revealed the techniques behind the tricks.

    If someone saw a Yo-Yo Ma performance and said “I know how he did that! It was all a trick: he just moved that stick across those strings!” it wouldn’t take away anything from the performance.

    It’s the mastery of the technique that is astounding.

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