Professor Anthony Barnhart received his Ph.D. in cognitive science from Arizona State University, where he began his graduate career with the intention of being a language researcher. To this end, he has published research examining the processes underlying handwritten word perception, a domain that has been largely ignored by psychologists.
Prof. Barnhart is also a part-time professional magician with more than 20 years of performing experience. His research trajectory changed in 2010 with the publication of the book Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about our Everyday Deceptions, in which he was featured as a consultant and teacher on the science of stage magic. The scientific interest that the book garnered motivated Prof. Barnhart to shift his focus toward the interface of science and magic.
His research program in the science of magic explores the intuitions of magicians and attempts to marry this folk psychology with formal scientific models in the domains of attention and perception. This work has been featured in Science News For Kids as well as in national and international television appearances and documentaries, most recently appearing in the Science Channel’s “Hack My Brain” program.
As a performer, he employs psychological principles to elevate his magic’s impact and increase the audience’s sense of wonder. His magic has won four national competitions and has been featured in publications such as National Geographic World magazine, M-U-M Magazine (the official journal of the Society of American Magicians), and The Linking Ring (the journal of the International Brotherhood of Magicians).
Professor Anthony Barnhart’s research interests include handwritten word perception, attentional deployment in time, and inattentional blindness. But he is best known for his research into the science of magic. An award-winning professional magician with more than 20 years of performing experience, he has been featured in the book Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about our Everyday Deceptions, as well as national and international publications, television programs, and documentaries.
Assistant Professor of Psychological Science
- Ph.D. — Arizona State University
- M.A. — Arizona State University
- B.A. — Augustana College
- PYC 1500 Introduction to Psychological Science
- PYC 2150 Sensation and Perception
- PYC 2300 Cognitive Psychology
- The Psychology of Magic
- PYC 3700 Thesis in Psychological Science
Prof. Barnhart’s research interests include:
- Handwritten word perception
- The science of magic
- Attentional deployment in time
- Inattentional blindness
Grants and Awards
Barnhart, A. S. & Cameron, E. L. (2017). MRI: Acquisition of an Eye Tracking System. • Agency: NSF, BCS – Major Research Instrumentation • Outcome: funded; $37,190
- Ortega, J., Montanes, P., Barnhart, A., & Kuhn, G. (2018). Exploiting failures in metacognition through magic: Visual awareness as a source of visual metacognition bias. Consciousness & Cognition, 65, 152-168. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2018.08.008
Barnhart, A. S. & Ehlert, M. J., Goldinger, S. D., & Mackey, A. D. (2018) Cross-modal attentional entrainment: Insights from magicians. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 80, 1240-1249. doi: 10.3758/s13414-018-1497-8
Goldinger, S. D., Papesh, M. H., Barnhart, A. S., Hansen, W. A., & Hout, M. C. (2016). The poverty of embodied cognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23, 959-978. doi: 10.3758/s13423-015-0860-1
Barnhart, A. S.& Goldinger, S. D. (2015). Orthographic and phonological neighborhood effects in handwritten word perception. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 1739-1745. doi: 10.3758/s13423-015-0846-z
Barnhart, A. S. & Goldinger, S. D. (2014). Blinded by magic: Eye-movements reveal the misdirection of attention. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1461. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01461
Barnhart, A. S. & Goldinger, S. D. (2013). Rotation reveals the importance of configural cues in handwritten word perception. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20, 1319-1326. doi: 10.3758/s13423-013-0435-y
Barnhart, A. S. (2010). The exploitation of Gestalt principles by magicians. Perception, 39, 1286-1289. doi:10.1068/p6766
Barnhart, A. S. & Goldinger, S. D. (2010). Interpreting chicken-scratch: Lexical access for handwritten words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36, 906-923. doi: 10.1037/a0019258