Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Conjurer.” A magician performs the classic “cups and balls” routine, the basis for the infamous shell game. (Notice the gentleman being pickpocketed!) ViaWikimedia
Tune into Science Friday January 15, 2016 from 2-4pm on WSQX. The grifter, the con artist, the flimflammer—the confidence man (or woman) goes by many names. But what the best of them have in common, according to The Confidence Game author Maria Konnikova, is an uncanny knack for understanding human psychology. From the “put-up” (identifying the victim, or “mark”) to the “blow-off and fix” (when a victim has been thoroughly fleeced and is convinced not to squeal), the master grifter’s techniques string us along, playing on our unconscious biases every step of the way.