Magic and the Mind


Dr. Iris Oved

San Diego Cognitive Scientist Dr. Iris OvedDr. Iris Oved, founder and executive director of The Paradox Center, has studied cognition from the perspectives of philosophy, psychology, and artificial intelligence for more than 15 years. Over the past two years, she has been creating and implementing programs for kids and teens (grades K-12) on the workings of the mind with the aim of improving students' skills in critical thinking, inquiry, discovery, creativity, self-awareness, discussion, and writing. She received her bachelor's degree in 2001 in interdisciplinary studies (philosophy, psychology, and symbolic systems) from the University of Arizona. She completed her Ph.D. in 2009 in philosophy with a cognitive science minor at Rutgers University, where she focused on the connection between perception and beliefs. She did a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona's Cognitive Robotics Lab. Dr. Oved has taught more than 15 courses at the university and graduate levels. In the spring of 2012, she created and led an after-school program on consciousness for middle-schoolers, resulting in a paper by two of the 12-year-olds being presented at an international conference and published in a professional Philosophy journal. To learn more about Dr. Oved and The Paradox Center, please visit

Tom Interval

San Diego Magician Tom IntervalTom Interval is a San Diego-based professional magician who provides magic entertainment and training to private and corporate clients locally and nationally. A member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), Society of American Magicians (SAM), and Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), he has captivated audiences at numerous venues in his hometown of Pittsburgh, San Diego, and along the East Coast, including Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. Mr. Interval, who has taught private and public magic lessons to children and adults since 1985, emphasizes the importance of combining showmanship with physical and psychological misdirection to create highly visual, interactive, mind-boggling magic performances. Since moving to San Diego, he has taken a keen interest in the mechanics of perception and cognitive neuroscience as it relates to magic and developed Reading Magic, a nonprofit, curriculum-based program designed to inspire children to read about a multitude of academic subjects while developing useful life skills learned through the study of magic. Mr. Interval has a BA in professional writing and minors in communications and management from La Roche College in Pittsburgh and has published instructional articles in international magic journals as well as worked in the field of marketing communications. To learn more about Tom Interval, please visit