To begin with, magic tricks are usually simpler than most people realize. Thus when the magician causes his assistant to suddenly float in midair, it is not done by threads, invisible wires or magnets, but far easier (and more dependable) methods. When the magician shows a hat empty and then produces a rabbit from it, it is not true that the rabbit was in the hat all along, or that the rabbit was hidden in the magician's sleeve. Doubtless these methods have been considered at one time or another, but they present enormous technical problems to the magician. Always and without exception the professional looks for the simplest and most dependable means to perform a given trick.
Naturally, question arises. If tricks in magic shop are simple to do, why is it that it succeeds in completely amazing the audience? If the method is so elementary, why is it not transparently obvious as well? The answer to both questions is that the method used in a magic trick is only one component of the secret. The other elements are psychology and misdirection - in short, fooling the mind as well as the eye. To put it another way, misdirection is the art of getting the audience to think the wrong thing at the right time.
Traditional misdirection relies to a degree on distracting the spectator´s attention. By way of an example, when you are in roomful of people, look out the window, fix your gaze on some imaginary object in the sky and say, “I wonder if that is flying saucer” Chances are excellent that the people in the room will stampede to the window to see the mysterious object. Note that you did not direct your comment to anyone in particular. Buy you created sudden interest by your remark and thus created a distraction sufficient to cause a crowd to gather.
Traditional misdirection applied to magic shop somewhat along the lines of the saying “Don't let the left hand know what the right hand is doing”. Thus, while the magician´s right hand plucks a card from the air, his left hand secretly palms another card. Audience interest is directed at the right hand because that is where all the action seems to be, so the audience never sees the magician palm a card with his left hand.
In almost all cases, the traditional or older methods of misdirection required that the open movement of one hand served to distract attention from the secret movement of the other hand, but in the past half century a new theory of misdirection has begun to evolve. The theory is that the eye can see a great number of details in a particular scene but that the mind screens out unimportant information and directs the eye to focus on only that which the mind considers important.
In short, if a piece of information seems unimportant, it will be ignored by the mind. This is the essential secret of the newer forms of misdirection. Applications and developments are many, as you will learn if you are interested in this field.