Perhaps all good magicians should be controversial. The English illusionist and sceptic Derren Brown, certainly is, specialising in boggling minds with clever psychological tricks that have a habit of telling us more about how our brains are wired than is strictly comfortable. His recent two part TV special, ‘Fear and Faith’, is a good example. In the first part, Derren claimed to have developed a miracle pill that could control fear, giving it to a selection of subjects, who all agreed that it worked. It was, of course a placebo – a sugar pill with no medical effects – and any results his subjects experienced was all purely in their minds.
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