The art of misdirection | Apollo Robbins

The art of misdirection | Apollo Robbins

Do you think it’s possible
to control someone’s attention? Even more than that,
what about predicting human behavior? I think those are interesting ideas. For me, that would be
the perfect superpower, actually kind of an evil way
of approaching it. But for myself, in the past,
I’ve spent the last 20 years studying human behavior
from a rather unorthodox way: picking pockets. When we think of misdirection, we think of something
as looking off to the side, when actually the things
right in front of us are often the hardest to see, the things that you look at every day
that you’re blinded to. For example, how many of you still have
your cell phones on you right now? Great. Double-check. Make sure you still have them. I was doing some shopping before. (Laughter) You’ve looked at them a few times today, but I’ll ask you a question. Without looking at it directly yet, can you remember the icon
in the bottom right corner? Bring them out, check and see
how accurate you were. How’d you do? Show of hands. Did we get it? Now that you’re done, close them down. Every phone has something in common. No matter how you organize the icons, you still have a clock on the front. So, without looking at your phone,
what time was it? You just looked at your clock, right? Interesting idea. Let’s take that a step further
with a game of trust. Close your eyes. I realize I’m asking you to do
that while you just heard there’s a pickpocket in the room,
but close your eyes. Now, you’ve been watching me
for about 30 seconds. With your eyes closed, what am I wearing? Make your best guess. What color is my shirt?
What color is my tie? Now open your eyes. Show of hands, were you right? Interesting, isn’t it? Some of us are a little bit
more perceptive than others, it seems. But I have a different theory
about that model of attention. They have fancy models of attention,
Posner’s trinity model of attention. For me, I like to think of it very
simple, like a surveillance system. It’s kind of like you have
all these fancy sensors, and inside your brain
is a little security guard. For me, I like to call him Frank. So Frank is sitting at a desk. He’s got lots of cool
information in front of him, high-tech equipment, he’s got cameras, he’s got a little phone
that he can pick up, listen to the ears, all these senses, all these perceptions. But attention is what steers
your perceptions, it’s what controls your reality. It’s the gateway to the mind. If you don’t attend to something,
you can’t be aware of it. But ironically, you can attend
to something without being aware of it. For example, the cocktail effect: You’re in a party, having
conversations with someone, and yet you can recognize your name without realizing
you were listening to that. Now, for my job, I have to play
with techniques to exploit this, to play with your attention
as a limited resource. So if I could control
how you spend your attention, if I could maybe steal your attention
through a distraction. Now, instead of doing it like misdirection and throwing it off to the side, instead, what I choose
to focus on is Frank, to be able to play with the Frank
inside your head, your security guard, and get you, instead of focusing
on your external senses, just to go internal for a second. So if I ask you to access
a memory, like, what is that? What just happened? Do you have a wallet? Do you have an American Express
in your wallet? And when I do that,
your Frank turns around. He accesses the file.
He has to rewind the tape. What’s interesting is,
he can’t rewind the tape at the same time that he’s trying
to process new data. This sounds like a good theory, but I could talk for a long time,
tell you lots of things, and a portion of them may be true, but I think it’s better if I tried
to show that to you here live. If I come down, I’m going
to do a bit of shopping. Just hold still where you are. Hello, how are you?
It’s lovely to see you. Wonderful job onstage. Lovely watch, it doesn’t
come off very well. Do you have a ring as well? Good. Just taking inventory.
You’re like a buffet. Hard to tell where to start,
so many great things. Hi, how are you? Good to see you. Hi, sir, could you stand up, please?
Just right where you are. You’re married,
you follow directions well. Nice to meet you, sir. You don’t have a lot in your pockets.
Anything down here? Hopefully so. Have a seat. There you go.
You’re doing well. Hi, sir, how are you? Good to see you, sir.
You have a ring, a watch. Do you have a wallet on you? Joe: I don’t. AR: Well, we’ll find one for you.
Come on up this way, Joe. Give Joe a round of applause.
Come on up, Joe. Let’s play a game. (Applause) AR: Pardon me. I don’t think I need this clicker anymore. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Come on up to the stage, Joe.
Let’s play a little game now. Anything in your front pockets? J: Money. AR: Money! All right, let’s try that. Can you stand right over this way for me? Turn around and, let’s see, if I give you something
that belongs to me, this is just something I have, a poker chip. Hold out your hand for me. Watch it closely. This is a task for you to focus on. You have your money in your front pocket? J: Yup.
AR: Good. I won’t put my hand in your pocket.
I’m not ready for that kind of commitment. Once a guy had a hole in his pocket, and that was rather traumatizing for me. I wanted his wallet,
he gave me his number. Big miscommunication. (Laughter) Let’s do this simply.
Squeeze your hand tight. Do you feel the poker chip in your hand? J: I do. AR: Would you be surprised
if I took it? Say yes. J: Very.
AR: Good. Open your hand. Thank you very much. I’ll cheat if you give me a chance. Make it harder for me. Just use your hand. Grab my wrist, but squeeze, squeeze firm. Did you see it go? Joe: No. AR: No, it’s not here. Open your hand. While we’re focused on the hand,
it’s sitting on your shoulder. Go ahead and take it off. Now, let’s try that again. Hold your hand out flat. Open it up. Put your hand up a little bit higher,
but watch it close. If I did it slowly,
it’d be on your shoulder. (Laughter) Joe, we’re going to keep doing
this till you catch it. You’ll get it eventually.
I have faith in you. Squeeze firm.
You’re human, you’re not slow. It’s back on your shoulder. You were focused on your hand, distracted. While you were watching,
I couldn’t get your watch off. Yet you had something inside your pocket. Do you remember what it was? J: Money. AR: Check your pocket. Is it still there? (Laughter) Oh, there it was. Put it away. We’re just shopping. This trick’s more about the timing. I’m going to try to push it
inside your hand. Put your other hand on top, would you? It’s amazingly obvious now, isn’t it? Looks a lot like the watch
I was wearing, doesn’t it? (Laughter) (Applause) J: That’s pretty good.
AR: Oh, thanks. (Applause) But it’s only a start.
Let’s try it a little bit differently. Hold your hands together.
Your other hand on top. If you’re watching this little token, this obviously has become
a little target, like a red herring. If we watch this kind of close,
it looks like it goes away. It’s not back on your shoulder. It falls out of the air,
lands right back in the hand. Did you see it go? Yeah, funny. We’ve got a little guy.
He’s union, works up there all day. If I do it slowly it goes straight away,
it lands by your pocket. Is it in this pocket, sir? Don’t reach in your pocket.
That’s a different show. (Squeaking) That’s rather strange.
They have shots for that. Can I show them? Rather bizarre.
Is this yours, sir? I have no idea how that works.
We’ll send that over there. I need help with this one. Step over this way for me. Don’t run away. You had something
down by your pants pocket. I was checking mine.
I couldn’t find everything, but I noticed you had something here. Can I feel the outside for a moment? Down here I noticed this.
Is this something of yours, sir? I have no idea. That’s a shrimp. J: Yeah. I’m saving it for later. AR: You’ve entertained
all of these people in a wonderful way, better than you know. So we’d love to give you this
lovely watch as a gift. (Laughter) Hopefully it matches his taste. We have a couple of other things, a little bit of cash. And we have a few other things, these all belong to you, along with a big round of applause
from all your friends. (Applause) Joe, thank you very much. (Applause) (Applause ends) So, same question I asked you before, but this time you don’t have
to close your eyes. What am I wearing? Audience: Oh! (Laughter) (Hesitant applause) (Applause ends) Attention is a powerful thing. Like I said, it shapes your reality. So, I guess I’d like to pose
that question to you. If you could control somebody’s attention, what would you do with it? Thank you. (Applause)

Dereck Turner

100 thoughts on “The art of misdirection | Apollo Robbins

  1. no name says:


  2. a ri says:


  3. モヤ says:


  4. 모모 says:


  5. I'm CEO, Bitch says:


  6. みじんこ says:


  7. ALL CAPS says:

    i’m at 4:53 and i already noticed his new shirt

  8. Romadhani Syahputra says:

    Yhe punchline, not much realize 🤣
    Change before he back to stage again

  9. Jack Leon says:

    Just saying he had two poker chips

  10. Jin Yang Peng says:

    Now you see me 3 lol

  11. Poru tamin says:

    This guy could make me from female to male without me noticing it

  12. TOPP4 says:

    This guy is so good he stole my productive time

  13. Markus W says:

    How did he change his clothes before and after 4:46 ?!?

  14. Yildiray Kelisli says:

    Amına koduklarım thankyou nun ne demek olduğunu biliyoruz
    Diğerlerini çevirin

  15. Brian Burgos Álvarez says:

    I don't know why this guy reminds me of Saul Goodman

  16. なかせい says:

    Is there anyone who suddenly came up with "recommendations for you"?

  17. xLeoSniPeR19 says:

    I remembered when he explained this on brain Games once xdd

  18. Dimitri Coutya says:

    He had two poker chips

  19. Lithunable•3 says:

    When I heard the word "misdirection" i immediately think about Kuroku HAHAHAHA

  20. Gta Glitcher-PS3 says:

    Misdirection overflow!!!!

    (If you know what I mean)

  21. ぴんく says:


  22. joydbr says:

    6:10 it's cool that you can see his finger moving around the watch to remove it

  23. Laie Laie says:


  24. Melih Akdemir says:

    is that show? our politicians stole our dream that is big show

  25. रियो says:


  26. いってぃ says:

    3:35 According to this,we actually can't multi task.

  27. La Zanahoria Es Chef says:

    Che me dicen lo k sta diciendo pk los subtítulos son una velga

  28. MoopGaming XD says:

    He changed what he was wearing on the walk back to the stage

  29. Slick Frags says:

    That was so awesome!

  30. Jordan Kirkland says:

    Hey the guy from brain games

  31. yasi says:

    when did he change his clothes

  32. Lava Prinz says:

    I am already an expert in using misdirection during exams…

  33. Will Nongsiej says:

    I'd hit the golden buzzer for him

  34. 織田信長 says:


  35. Skyzer says:

    wata fak aim aie ewering

  36. Diamond Mohotsi says:

    He just stole 8 minutes and 47 seconds from me and I didn't even know it. 🙂

  37. ポケモンセンター says:


  38. ゆゆた says:


  39. Quinn Albert says:

    sneak 100

  40. BitingBite says:

    Кольцо силы? Ring of power?

  41. Jordy Morgan says:

    Get this man some water

  42. Bogdan Stangaciu says:

    If he was the best pickpocket he was not known

  43. chris madill says:

    Wow camera looked away after he nodded and changed at 4:42 WTF

  44. Andrey K says:

    Где русский перевод?????????
    Зачем тогда название ролика на русском языке???????????

  45. Denis Bessmertny says:

    Run the world..

  46. MrDragonesta says:

    attention left the chat.

  47. Wathy Imsong says:

    This guy could make you pregnant while he is talking with you…. Beware girls.

  48. Dipali Kharva says:

    I don't know nothing else but this that you stole our Time too

  49. misfortune says:

    i finally understand how kuroko was so good at basketball

  50. 6lack Supreme says:

    The fact that the second time he had another pocker thingy, and he hid the first one by putting it in his back pocket. Barely caught it

  51. BLAKE the GREAT says:

    He has 2 poker chips, the misdirection was elementary lol The only good part was the outfit change, I didn't see it the first time but it was prolly obvious. Too lazy to watch again

  52. Creation OfAllThings says:


  53. CR Rathod-UnKnown Head says:

    Changes his shirt at 4:37–4:44

  54. MKPDC 29 says:

    He uses 2 poker chips, very clear

  55. vince says:

    2:53 sleeeeeping

  56. Lemoyne Raider says:

    APOLLO ROBBINS IS A TRUE MASTER I am [email protected] you will remember me as wolfen with my friend also a YouTuber mini j MC I was in some of his vids

  57. Judah Harrigan says:

    Scott Lang wants to know your location

  58. rosalina fire says:

    People with god names are too powerful

  59. Bryan Wang personal says:

    When did he change clothesss!?

  60. Muhammad saim ali says:

    5:53 two poker chips
    One on the shoulder
    Second in his hand

  61. Duck_With_Grape Hi says:

    Him: what rember the question I asked you?? What am I wearing now?


  62. Uchiha Itachi says:

    He is the missing member of the horsemen….

  63. セウ says:


  64. Akase BloodFallen says:

    i only watch animes and youtube recommend me this -_- but it was fun
    also this guy took my attention and i forgot what anime i was watching

  65. sKraken Yui says:

    Looks like that guy from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

  66. Wolverine X says:

    I experienced pickpoketers this experienced on india but this is quite easy to deal with maybe its because im aware and young
    So not really impressed.
    He just speaks fast and touches you he just messes up your mind and get your attention lol.
    Ofc we have defense mechanisms which we dont let strangers get into our personal space.
    What he does is invade your.personal space then you just become uncomfortable
    Your brain thinks whos this guy touching me were not even close

  67. M J says:

    The type of person that's intriguing but you only want to be as close to as this YT video! 😳 Feel like changing all my passwords all of a sudden! LBVS 😂

  68. CLUBY918 owo says:

    Theres 2 chips

  69. Christopher Wien says:

    This is how democracy works

  70. Vishnu Hulas says:

    How to steal using science

  71. Kudoshi says:

    This video never gets old

  72. Garry Whittington says:

    When I think of misdirection I think of nasa, the governments, schools and Ted talks and society.

  73. D C says:

    А ещё у него две фишки, на 5:55 это можно заметить

  74. Jer Ald says:

    This guy is a man

  75. mehdi Lingot says:

    Pause, back, play, pause back… amazing really amazing

  76. Luke Sparrow says:

    True story – I was once pulled up on stage by a magician who did the exact same poker chip routine with me. The only problem was that my watch that has a leather strap is actually a metal clasp watch underneath. So as he pulled the strap out of the loop and tried to pull it away, it just undid the clasp and so my arm went with it. The amazing thing was I don’t think anyone noticed other than me, he did well to salvage the routine.

  77. Nivas Goud says:

    watch the video at exactly 5 :53 , you can find 2 poker chips i.e one on the joes shoulder and the other one in the hands of apollo robbins .

  78. Xin Zhou says:

    His Frank is too fast…

  79. Thomas says:

    I don't need this clicker anymore? Bye bye purple shirt and tie

  80. Otaku Cat says:

    I noticed the chip from the 2nd time onwards and him putting on the watch and taking stuff out

  81. Guadalupe U.U says:

    What? 😮 Oh God

  82. Corentin Didier says:

    Ok thief's creed

  83. かみぽて says:


  84. Buddy says:

    By today, he has fooled 16 million people.. Almost as good as an Arab country leader!

  85. 4Self real says:

    Warum steht es auf deutsch wenn alles auf englisch ist

  86. 折り返し界隈馬場 says:


  87. Breezy Gaming says:

    He had 2 chips pay attention

  88. Brahian Amador says:

    Yo tambien quiero ser ladron profesional :'v

  89. ガブリエル Gabriel says:

    1:31 I never look at the time, and I always get pissed later, because I have to pick up my phone again to look at the time.

  90. ジャック・オ・フロスト says:


  91. Shleez says:

    someone get him a glass of waterrrr

  92. Гамид Гамидов says:

    Накрутка просмотров дауны

  93. Count Roy says:

    Shave that hair below your lips

  94. Бекзат Сарсенбаева says:

    Почему TED объясняет так непонятно?

  95. Сеня Местный says:

    Охуеть.мега четко

  96. Pycckiy Gamer says:

    Бля все внимание было на субтитрах а не на фишке((

  97. Thiesen says:

    WTF… where did my kneecaps go?

  98. says:


  99. Битл Джус says:

    Корманник 100 лв

  100. Mauricio Aguilera says:


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