Added On: Sunday, November 04, 2007

How ppl can pretend to know a lot about you

We can all be amazed at times by how much someone can know about us, even if they've rarely spoken to us before. They just seem to have some kind of intuition. Sometimes, they can even claim to be psychic or possess some other kind of supernatural skill.

In fact, listing off what sound like deep insights into somebody's personality is a relatively easy trick. Magicians can use it to fool people into thinking their minds are being read. Psychics, astrologers and the like do it all the time.

They simply use a cold reading script. This is just a bunch of truisms that everybody feels, but most individuals believe makes them unique.

Here is an example of a common script similar to that used by psychologist Bertram Forer: "You have a deep need for others to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be overly critical of yourself at times. You have a lot of unused capacity, which you haven't been able to turn to your advantage. While you have some weaknesses in your personality, you're generally able to compensate for them. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worried and insecure inside. Sometimes, you have real doubts whether you've made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer some change and variety and feel locked in by limitations and restrictions. Some of your aspirations can be pretty unrealistic. Sometimes, you're extroverted and sociable, other times you're introverted and reserved".

Read the script above to many people, and they'll feel deeply that you're talking about them. They may even think you're some kind of psychological genius, or that you're blessed with supernatural powers. It's a great party trick, especially if you can dress it up with some kind of ritual and get the person alone.

Even easier are the truisms that relate to a person at specific times in their lives. For example, if you see that someone is a young man, you can say to them something like: "You have a lot of inner anger within which you sometimes have trouble repressing".

Other tricks can also be used. A person with rough hands has likely been exposed to a lot of manual work, for example.

The point is to let you know that people who use these tricks are trying to manipulate you. They're not really intuitive or gifted. They've simply been exposed to this technique and practiced using it to their advantage. It's a fun trick, but don't let them fool you into believing it's anything more.

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