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Magic Tricks for Monkeys - Do Monkeys Like Magic Tricks?

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Ever tried to demonstrate magic for your friends? How about a monkey? Have you ever wondered if animals understand magic? If you could look at magic through the eyes of a monkey, how would that feel?

Find out by watching these funny monkey reactions to magic tricks!

 

Table of Contents

 

Do Monkeys Understand Magic Tricks?


Magician performing a card magic trick for a small monkey
Magicians use misdirection to captivate their audience. Does it work with monkeys?

Whether or not all animals or monkeys understand magic tricks is challenging to answer.


Magic tricks are illusions that appear to defy the laws of physics or logic.


Magicians use their skills in magic, acting, sleight-of-hand, and other disciplines to create an effect that captivates an audience's attention.


It's akin to a form of theatre but with a more specific goal: to impress the audience with seemingly unexplainable events that inspire a sense of astonishment or wonderment.


When determining whether animals like monkeys understand magic tricks, we must consider how they perceive their environment. Do monkeys notice when things defy logical explanations? Or do monkeys and animals see something like this as an act of nature?


Magician Paul Daniels was one of the first to do magic with monkeys:


We can say that some animals, like these monkeys, appear to share a similar experience to humans when shown a simple magic trick.


These monkeys in the videos on this post sure look like they are experiencing wonder.


Do all animals feel wonderment?


Well-- that's a more difficult question to answer.

 

Magic Tricks For Monkeys


Here are videos of monkeys reacting to magic tricks:





 

How to Trick A Monkey


Now, I must tell you, this video is truly something to behold!


It's a delightful twist on the meme that you won't want to miss. It's a testament to the creativity of the internet and the endless ways in which we can be surprised, tricked, and delighted.


So go ahead, and click to watch. You won't regret it.


How To Trick A Monkey.mp4


So, what did you think? Did you laugh? Were you surprised? Did it meet your expectations, or did trick you? We'd love to hear your thoughts and reactions in the comments!


Did it work? No? Read on...


The beauty of memes like this lies not just in the trickery but in the shared experience of surprise, laughter, and even a bit of self-reflection.


The Art of Trickery: The "How to Trick a Monkey" Meme


The "How to Trick a Monkey" meme stands out for its cleverness and simplicity in the vast, ever-evolving world of internet memes.


This meme, circulating on platforms like Reddit, is a masterclass in deception and the power of expectations.


The meme presents itself as a video.


Were You Fooled to Try?


The title, "How to Trick a Monkey," suggests that you'll see a video demonstrating a clever trick to fool a monkey by clicking the play button.


That's because the real trick isn't about fooling a monkey but fooling you.


The "video" is actually a static image. The play button, the promise of a video, it's all a ruse. The monkey being tricked isn't in the image—it's the person clicking the play button.


It turns out the meme exploits two significant mental triggers.


Cognitive Bias

This meme is a brilliant example of exploiting our cognitive biases.


Have you heard of the term "curiosity gap"? It was first coined by George Loewenstein in 1994 and gained popularity through Upworthy during the rise of online content.


Essentially, the curiosity gap refers to the gap between what we currently know and what we desire or need to know. For example, the title "How to Trick a Monkey" creates a curiosity gap as it makes us curious about the method used to trick a monkey, and we anticipate that the video will provide us with the answer.


Recognition Heuristic

We see a play button, and our brain immediately recognizes it as a symbol for video content. This is an example of the "recognition heuristic," where we rely on our ability to recognize cues to guide our behavior.


In this case, the play button is a recognizable cue that suggests video content.


But Wait... there's a Real "How to Trick a Monkey" Video:



There's actually a real video version of this meme on YouTube. Here's the link. It's not very exciting, but a conclusion for all who are curious.


The "How to Trick a Monkey" meme is a fun, harmless example of how easily we can be led astray by our assumptions and cognitive biases. It's a reminder to question what we see, not always to take things at face value to maintain a sense of humor when we inevitably fall for a clever trick.


After all, we're only human—or should we say, monkeys?

 

Developing Awareness


Have you ever tried to play peek-a-boo with a one-year-old?



You've probably noticed that babies seem to get a kick from seeing your face reappear when you cover your face. But what if it's not just the reappearance of your face that's exciting for babies?


According to an experiment by psychologist Jean Piaget, there might be more going on beneath the surface.


Piaget studied how kids under two years old perceive objects in their environment. He suggested that even a child's parent is simply another object that passes in and out of existence early in childhood as they appear and disappears from view.


This awareness appears to be developed in humans around eight months old.


Scientists don't know exactly how an animal's brain processes visual information compared to a human's brain. Still, researchers believe that an animal with a similar eye structure to humans may perceive illusions similarly.


The animals with the most similar brain size to humans are chimpanzees; our DNA is 98.8% identical to chimps.


Do animals feel wonder or focus only on the immediate and concrete?

The answer is… it depends.


 

Do Monkeys and Animals Feel Wonder?


Magician holding a monkey and both looking at playing cards
Do monkeys and other animals feel wonder?

Answering this question helps to understand what wonder means and how it affects us.


Wonder is defined as "a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable." It's a feeling like everything is happening for the first time—like when you're a kid looking at the world in awe.


Wonder can have a positive effect on humans and their creative processes.


A feeling of awe might encourage you to take more risks because your brain automatically perceives those risks as less dangerous than they are. This could boost your confidence and creativity by inspiring you to try new things you might not have otherwise tried.


As it turns out, animals seem to experience wonder in much the same way humans do.


The average dog's brain is about the same size and complexity as a two-and-a-half-year-old human toddler's, Scientists believe dogs can feel and express emotions similar to those of young children.


Whether animals feel wonder definitively is difficult to say because they're not very good at communicating their emotional states. But we can look at what we know about them to try and decide.


 

How did the orangutan card trick work?

What do you think of this video? Is it real or fake?

The way the orangutan reacts is inconceivable. We're not sure, but we do know this video is astonishing.

 

Takeaway

There's no simple answer to the question, "Do monkeys like magic tricks?"


In some ways, we can see traces of wonder in animals like monkeys—but it is mainly undefinable.


We might never get a clear answer, but we can see monkeys react to magic tricks.


Monkeys, chimpanzees, and all other animals lack the vocal abilities to communicate amazement. However, a monkey's body language does express wonder and awe, which leads one to conclude that monkeys most likely feel wonder as we do.


What do you think? Do monkeys like magic tricks, and do animals experience wonder? Share your thoughts.

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