"Pseudo Psychics and the Art of Cold Reading" -

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"Pseudo Psychics and the Art of Cold Reading" -

Post  Khephra on Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:01 pm

From Parapsychologist.tumblr:

I sense anxiety and uncertainty. You have a tendency to be self critical and you often worry how other people view you. Your negativity can hold you back at times. But these moments of adversity are just tests of resolve. There is triumph and accomplishment ahead… should you choose to embrace it.
Extra Sensory Perception research (which examines clairvoyance, telepathy and precognition) has been conducted for many years across parapsychology laboratories and the results seem to show that ESP is valid to a small but verifiable degree. Whilst these test environments (with all the controls and protocols designed to weed out fraud) are artificial, it seems plausible that the results translate to the real world in some way. In other words, if it works in the lab – it should work in the outside world.

But in the outside world, there are many people happy to part you from your money; people who are no more psychic than a rock but who can deliver vague, open-ended predictions delivered in polished professional ways to provide apparently powerful and meaningful experiences for the client.

People go to psychics because they have a psychological need. And typically this need is: reassurance. New events might be difficult or unsettling, and the emotional succour of verifying things will be okay is of great value. On the other hand, there is clearly less motivation to seek outside advice if life is going swimmingly. It is this desire for information that gives the psychic authority and legitimacy. It is given by the client by decree. All the pseudo psychic has to do – is not screw things up, and repeat custom beckons.

So how do pseudo psychics, also known as cold readers, do what they do? First up is to establish credibility. The most effective way is by offering information that is private to the client. If the reading takes place in person, the psychic can draw a lot of inferences from stereotyping and the visual cues of appearance, demeanour and attitude. Look at any person and things like clothes, jewellery, age (particularly relevant to questions of health), and accents reveal a wealth of information. An accent that isn’t local, for example, can be spun into a long explanation of a ‘journey’, or of being an ‘outsider’.

As this ‘fishing’ expedition unfolds, the cold reader carefully watches the client. Human beings are remarkably good at providing unconscious feedback through body language (e.g. nods, tics, stress rubs to the face) and more overt affirmations such as vocalizations and utterances. All the psychic has to do is probe, and the client will let them know when they’re on the money. Most clients will even help the psychic, by filling in the blanks. If the psychic starts discussing a person coming through (and it’s a good idea to start with the letter J for Men, the letter M for women) – the client will often offer assistance (Ah yes, you mean John, my Grandfather). The cold reader can choose to incorporate this fact immediately, or apparently ignore it by continuing to talk – only to reintroduce the information later in the reading as new information (it’s called setting up repeaters). Alternatively, the cold reader might finish the client’s sentence for them. By talking over a response it seems as though you were about to provide the information. “I had an uncle called Wi-” says the client -I’m sensing a William, does that mean anything? Maybe a Will? interjects the cold reader.If the cold reader is off base, it’s easy to talk of psychic reading being like weather forecasting. Sometimes signs and patterns are difficult to unpick.

Providing insight into a client’s personality is another powerful technique for establishing legitimacy. We tend to think of ourselves as fairly unique. In reality, we’re not all that dissimilar; we suffer the same fears and behaviors. Thus, Barnum Statements can be employed. Barnum statements are statements that can be applied almost universally to anyone you come across. This article opened with one.

It should be noted that high end psychics who really charge top dollar (built on good reputations) might dig into a new client’s background before a reading takes place. They can ask for a deposit check, or a phone number (in case of cancellation) then back trace it to uncover the client’s address. With a name and address, it is remarkably simple to find out about someone’s employment status, their finances and family life. Field reconnaissance is not unknown. Peer through the client’s kitchen window, root through the trash, note the car in the drive. It’s quite impressive to say I see a beautiful blue Lexus, outside a house. Number 24? No…14. Does that make sense to you?

Once credibility is established, the hard work is pretty much done. Now it’s simply a question of finding topic areas of concern and providing predictions. The rule of thumb here is to boost accuracy by reducing specifics. Speak of multiple paths ahead, and the ‘choices’ the client must make. When tackling the area of concern, start by probing health, career, money or love matters. If the concern is about a divorce (perhaps affirmed by the unconscious rubbing of the wedding ring finger) - the cold reader can talk about difficult times in the present, but a rosier happier future where the client emerges wiser and stronger. If the client wants to know about a potential career change the cold reader can encourage the client to take the risk if they really believe in it. After all, if the new job doesn’t work out – a myriad of reasons can be invoked to explain why.

An apparent foreknowledge of the future can provide assurance, security and optimism for many. It is human nature to want to gain an advantage if possible.

As such, it’s inevitable that there are people out there who seek to take advantage and exploit the willing. Cold readers are skilled professionals, they wouldn’t remain so if they didn’t appear to get things right.

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"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey
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Khephra

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