Science | Page 54

laboration of diverse disciplines and that students should be encouraged to see how each of the STEAM disciplines approaches problems through a different lens . Broad training in STEAM could allow students to approach problems flexibly and dynamically . Of course , this approach is not new . This perspective has been championed by the liberal arts for centuries . As a faculty member at a liberal arts college , I know that the liberal arts were engaged in interdisciplinary thought before it was cool .
At Carthage College , I regularly teach a course on The Cognitive Science of Magic that attempts to realize the full educational potential of the scientific study of magic . I have now taught the course eight times , at three different institutions . 3 The course has evolved to fully embrace interdisciplinarity and highlight the complexity of interactions between the arts and sciences . Indeed , it is now labeled as a “ Diverse Perspectives ” course within the Carthage curriculum by because of its focus on interdisciplinary thought .
3 ) A video compilation from the first version of the course is available at https :// bit . ly / ASU-PsychOfMagic .
The most fundamental learning objective in the course is for students to practice distilling testable hypotheses from the writings of magic scholars ( the Science component of STEAM ). This is no small feat , as magic theorists do not have to operationalize their ideas in the same way that scientists do . Most magicians care about how their magic works , not why their magic works . Students read theoretical pieces by Arturo de Ascanio , Tom Stone , and others , identify testable hypotheses , and practice designing experimental techniques to test those hypotheses . Meanwhile , I expose students to historical approaches to interaction between science and magic and modern empirical works exploring the cognitive basis of performance magic . I try to pepper in some examples of computational modeling in cognitive science so that students see how mathematics shapes theory development ( the Mathematics component of STEAM ). 4
Students also gain experience building and performing pieces of magic ( often for the first time ) and understanding how the performance of magic can be informed by findings from psychological
4 ) See Grassi and Bartels ( 2021 ) for a Bayesian model of magical wonder .