Series M, Episode 9 - Messing With Your Mind
- Stephen as Alan if when they first met if it was love at first sight. The answer is that there is no such thing as love at first sight, because we may not remember things correctly after a long period of time. There was a survey of 10,000 people in long-term relationships, and while half of the men said they fell in love at first sight, only a quarter of the women said they did so. Some people therefore argue that men are more sentimental than women. (Forfeit: Yes, Stephen)
- Magic Trick: Stephen produces a small piece of blank paper and a special printer consisting of a roller and a bit of wooden board. Rolling the printer over the paper results in it printing out a £10 note, accurately produced on both sides of the paper.
- The panel are asked which of the following the most convincing: The IKEA Effect; The Rhyme as Reason Effect; of The Frequency Illusion. The IKEA Effect is when you think something is better because you make it yourself, like when you build a piece of IKEA furniture, or make a meal out of food that you yourself have grown. The Rhyme as Reason Effect is when a phrase seems more believable because it rhymes. One experiment shows that if you say the phrase: "Wealth makes health" people will believe it, but if you say the phrase: "Financial success improves medical outcomes" people will not believe it, even though they both mean the same thing. A famous example of the effect was given by O.J. Simpson's defence lawyer Johnnie Cochran who said: "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit." The Frequency Illusion is when you first hear something, and then over the next few days this same thing occurs a lot more often. These three effects are all examples of "cognitive bias".
- If an amnesiac were to be asked for his name by a doctor he would be able to remember it. Despite all the films and stories about amnesia it does not make you forget things. Amnesia prevents you from remembering new things. (Forfeit: I don't know)
- Stephen gets the audience and the panel to do a memory test. He says the following list of words which people have to remember for the end of the show: Bed. Rest. Awake. Tired. Dream. Wake. Snooze. Blanket. Doze. Slumber. Snore. Nap. Peace. Yawn. Drowsy.
- Magic Trick: Stephen produces another blank sheet of paper, along with an ink blotter and pad. Stephen pressed the blotter onto the paper, and in doing so produces a £5 note, accurately produced on both sides of the paper.
- A multiple choice question - True or False? True or false questions are more likely to be true than false. The answer is true. A large bank of true or false questions in American exam papers was investigated and it showed that 56% of true or false questions had true answers. The reason given is that the examiners find it easier to think of questions with true answers.
- If question one in a "true or false" exam has a true answer, then question two is more likely to have a false answer. It is most likely the first few questions will go true, false, true, false, but of course this is not always the case. The chance that the next true of false question will have the opposite answer is 63%. If you want to optimise your score in such an exam, first you should answer all the ones you know the answer to, then questions next to the ones you know will more likely have the opposite answer, and then for all the questions left over you should say the answer is true. (Forfeit: True)
- XL: The panel are asked to watch a film and say what happens. The film is of a street front, and is filmed to look like you a blinking. Slowly the panel notice that a person in the picture changes from a woman to another woman walking the other way with a dog. However, when the film is played without the blink they discover that something changed with every frame of footage, including signs, doors and trees appearing. This film was shown at the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture by Prof. Bruce Hood. This form of blindness, known as saccadic masking, is a problem for witnesses of crimes. This sort of thing happens every day. For example, if you look at yourself in a mirror and look at your right eye, then look at your left eye, you do not see your eyes move even though they do, because your brain shuts down your vision for that moment. Saccadic masking can add up to 30-45 minutes a day, meaning you are temporary blind for 2 years of your life on average.
- Magic Trick: Stephen produces a rolling press printer with a dial on the front of it, which produces bank notes of varying sums. Stephen first tests it on the £20 setting, puts a piece of blank paper in the printer, and accurately produces a £20 note. When Josh asks him to put the printer on the £100 setting, Stephen puts in one blank sheet of paper, and magically produces two £50 notes.
- A paradoxical insomniac gets the more sleep than they think they got. It is a rare condition in which medical tests and machines shows that you are sleeping, but you are actually awake.
- You can swear like a pre-pubescent supercomputer by filling it full of entries from UrbanDictionary.com. The 11-year-old supercomputer Watson, most famous for taking part and winning the American gameshow Jeopardy! where the rules are you must answer in the form of a question (e.g. For "This actor played Jonathan Creek" the correct answer is "Who is Alan Davies?"), was fed a dictionary. The problem however is that UrbanDictionary.com is full of swearwords. Examples of UrbanDictionary.com words beginning with "M" include "man cave", "milkshake", "metrosexual", "motorboat", "minger" and "muffin top". When testing Watson before it went on Jeopardy! it just kept swearing, so Watson had to be reprogrammed.
- XL: The reason why the camel got the hump and where was because camels originally came from the arctic and humps are used to store fat and keep camels warm. (Forfeit: For storing water)
- XL: In the war between the grass and the grass-eaters everyone is winning really. While some forms of grass evolve ways to make itself unpleasant to eat, it does not evolve to stop it from being eaten. Unlike most plants, the centre of being of grass is at the bottom, so a cow can eat up to 95% of the top of the grass and the grass itself is fine. The grass itself is helped by being kept cropped. (Forfeit: The grass; The grass-eaters)
- Mushrooms have no preference between growing in the light or the dark. People prefer growing them in the dark because it saves money on lighting and electricity. (Forfeit: The light)
One last thing...
- Stephen gets the audience to provide answers to the memory test by asking them to put their hands up if they remember certain words. When Stephen asks them to put their hands up if they remember the word "Sleep" some of the audience do, and get the klaxon, because "Sleep" was not one of the words. The audience fell into a false memory trap into thinking that Stephen had said it. (Forfeit: Sleep)
- Tuesday 29th December 2015
- BBC Two
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|Scott Penrose||Master Magician|
|James Harkin||Script Editor|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Andrew Hunter Murray||Question Writer|
|John Lloyd (as John Lloyd CBE)||Series Producer|
|Sohail Shah||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|