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The Pickpocket


Wednesday, February 20, 2013
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

If you read the Adam Green article in The New Yorker this past January, the opening paragraph relates the encounter between Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, and the young Apollo Robbins. Jillette challenged the softspoken Robbins to a demonstration of his purloining ability, ready to be unimpressed.
Robbins managed to rob Jillette not of his pen, but of the cartridge from Jillette’s pen without the master magician knowing it was happening.
Apollo Robbins first made national news as the man who relieved the Secret Service of their watches, wallets, and confidential itinerary, while entertaining the former President. Psychologist Dan Ariely studies irrational behavior. Together they work towards an understanding of why we make bad decisions. Or allow our i-phone to be lifted without knowing it.

About the Speakers

Apollo Robbinsperformances utilize pick-pocketing and sleight-of-hand to demonstrate proximity manipulation, diversion techniques and attention control. This unique set of skills has led to several national television appearances as well as both corporate and academic speaking engagements. Known as “The Gentleman Thief” he handles his participants in a non-intrusive way, without embarrassing them, and, in his stage show, often giving his audience a behind-the-scenes view. Apollo’s trademark is his unique ability to tell his “target” that he is about to steal from them, before he does it, right under their nose.
Despite our intentions, why do we so often fail to act in our own best interest? Why do we promise to skip the chocolate cake, only to find ourselves drooling our way into temptation when the dessert tray rolls around? Why do we overvalue things that we’ve worked to put together? What are the forces that influence our behavior?
Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, is dedicated to answering these questions and others in order to help people live more sensible – if not rational – lives. His interests span a wide range of behaviors, and his sometimes unusual experiments are consistently interesting, amusing and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom. In addition to appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Department of Economics, and the School of Medicine at Duke University, Dan is also a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.

About Brainwave: Illusion

The Buddha said that everything is illusion. What did he mean by that? This sixth edition of Brainwave will enlist the aid of neuroscientists to help us understand how the perception of our world is shaped by the surprising adaptability of our brains. Brainwave includes talks, special film screenings followed by discussions, interactive workshops, and much more!
Learn More
Presenting Sponsor of Brainwave 2013