Jay Olson, McGill psychiatry student, can influence your every move

A Montreal magician-turned-psychiatry-student can predict what ‘random’ card you’re going to pick with 98 per cent accuracy.

Former professional magician uses card tricks to show importance of context in decision-making

Jay Olson is using card tricks to study the effect of importance of context in decision-making. (Vika Fedorchuk)

A Montreal magician-turned-psychiatry-student can predict what ‘random’ card you’re going to pick with 98 per cent accuracy.

Jay Olson is a graduate student in psychiatry at McGill University. Olson’s latest study looks at the way contextual factors influence the decisions people make.

To test his research, Olson took to the streets.

He stopped 118 people and did a card trick for them, while simultaneously subtly influencing their choice of cards.

He found that 98 per cent of them picked the card he wanted. And of those people, 90 per cent believed they made the choice of their own free will.

Olson said his team will now look at how these factors apply to choices outside of magic.

Listen to an interview with Olson on CBC's Homerun:

Jay Olsen is a magician and psychology student who is interested in the psychology of magic. He was on Homerun to describe how magic and psychology meet. 8:08

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