What is cold reading?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Philipp S.(4), Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Hey there,

    I am just interested in what cold reading actually is. Has it more of a mystic touch (Like Peter Turner) or can you really tell if someone is lying/reading their thoughts?

    I watched the TV series "Lie to me". Is this what cold reading is? Can you tell with 100% accuracy if somebody is lying and if so can you learn it from books or is this another fiels auch as psychology?


    PS: I am planning to study business psychology and I am interested in manipulating people so that maybe will come in handy. I know this attitude may be the wrong one but I am honest: I am interested in manipulating and reading people. I won't tell them if I do so, just for myself ;)
  2. This is a big subject, with a couple of schools of thought. Loosely, these schools of thought could be grouped into the "Ian Rowland Approach" and the "Jerome Finley Approach" (these aren't the only names in each school, but they're representative).

    The "Ian Rowland Approach", as exemplified in his book The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading, treats cold reading as a simple trick based on grouping people into large identifiable groups and then throwing out general statements that would fit anyone in that group. So, you might see someone in their mid-fifties in a well-tailored suit and tie and therefore judge that they probably earn a decent amount of money, but may have a stressful job and due to that and their age, are likely to have some concerns about their health. So, you could offer the reading, "You feel as though you're perceived to be a success in life, and often you feel that too...you're the type of person who likes to work hard and when you get a moment to stand back and reflect, you can see that effort's paid off. Sometimes, though, you get caught up in the melee of life, and at those times doubts about the future start to creep in, it's like you have a vague feeling that somehow, sometime, it could all get taken away from you. The important thing for you is to remember to detach yourself from the hustle and bustle sometimes, leave the failures and the losses behind and take time to relax and to enjoy the good things in your life."

    The "Jerome Finley Approach" treats cold reading more as a stepping stone to genuine psychic or intuitive readings. The true meaning of "cold reading" is "reading without any prior information", as opposed to "hot reading", where you're essentially relaying back information that has been gained in some kind of pre-show or research. So, this approach gives the reader the opportunity to enhance the strength and power of traditional readings based on tarot or another divinatory system by using the theatrical subterfuges that skeptics decry. This approach relies on the reader's acceptance of the possibility of the use of genuine intuition, rather than deception.

    So that's cold reading. It's not the same thing as telling people whether they're lying or not, but experience with readings will certainly be a help if you want to work up a "lie detector" routine. For the route that you seem to want to go down, I think a lot of the modern literature on hypnosis and suggestion would be interesting to you (hypnotherapy as well as performance hypnosis), on top of as wide a variety of works on readings (tarot, aura, palmistry, cold reading) as you can get your hands on.
  3. Thanks a lot, TeeDee. This whole thing is now clearer (?) to me. So what do you think is a beginner's lecture, just for education purposes, in suggestion?
  4. I'd start with Anthony Jacquin's material. His book Reality is Plastic, followed by The Manchurian Approach and The Trilby Connection. At some point, you'll probably want to invest in Kenton Knepper's Wonder Words too. That should be enough to keep you going for a while, but my advice on this, as with any other subject you're interested in, is devour everything you can. Any magazine articles, scientific papers, YouTube videos, books, DVDs, films, novels, anything and everything. Don't take everything as gospel, but, as with learning a language, immersion is the quickest way to mastery.
  5. Correct me if I'm wrong but I was under the impression that these were all to do with Hypnosis rather than cold reading, or am I wrong on this?
  6. You're correct! I was answering the question Philipp asked, "So what do you think is a beginner's lecture, just for education purposes, in suggestion?"
  7. Suppose depending on how you look at it yes hypnosis is a form of suggestion, but I would argue that it isnt the most subtle form and can't really be used in day to day life. I would suggest books on NLP or the book Persuasion by James Borg if you want practical influencing/suggestion techniques to use in every day life.
  8. Fair enough. My thinking is that hypnosis is actually the only form of suggestion, or, conversely, all suggestion is hypnosis. Not all suggestions involve trance inductions, "phenomena" and so on, but I think that hypnosis is susceptible of a broader definition than that. Therefore, I believe that if you're seeking to understand the mechanisms of suggestion, a grounding in hypnosis is an excellent starting point. I think that a lot of the NLP stuff is underpinned by an unappealingly self-centred view to the world and, while it forms a great supplement and alternative perspectives once some solid foundations are in place, I don't think it's a good beginner's starting point. Each to their own, though. That's just my view and not intended to be seen as dogma!
  9. Okay. So thanks a lot for your comments. What is NLP? And does the book "Reality is Plastic" use the same sort of suggestion?
    I remember a video where Derren Brown paid with blank bills and that is the direction I want. Does this use a "trance" state of the spectator? And what would be a good book on NLP?
  10. I agree with what your are saying and the chapters in the Encyclopedia of stage hypnotism on waking hypnosis are great and go along with what you are saying about suggestion and underlying principles behind it. I don't agree that NLP is underpinned with a self centered view of the world, I can totally understand why it can be seen like that, especially with certain books that have been written about it. I see it, have learned it and also apply it with in my day job and my magic to build rapport with people and to eventually (if i want) subtly guide or suggest someone into my way of thinking.
  11. Reality is Plastic is a basic introduction to hypnosis which, as I say, I think is a great starting point for understanding suggestion. I don't know for sure how the Derren Brown effect worked but he's known for taking traditional mentalism methods and applying a psychological presentation to them, so it may well be that there was something more physical going on in that trick than it may first appear. To understand Derren Brown's work, you'll need a good grounding in the fundamentals of mentalism as well as psychological techniques. The roots of NLP appear in the early books by Richard Bandler and John Grinder (The Structure of Magic Vols I & II and Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H Erickson), although if you want a basic introduction to the topic NLP for Dummies will do the job.
  12. Introducing NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming by Joseph O'Connora and John Seymour is a good starting point.
  13. I would like to say that NLP is not to be taken at face value. Most of what it claims is new, is just rehashed information that's been around for a hundred years, and much of what they claim is original is unverifiable.

    At first I disagreed - but thinking on it more I think learning hypnosis is a good way to learn suggestion. Just don't get caught up in the mentality that you need to do the whole shebang of hypnotizing someone to get them to follow suggestions. You can weave the suggestions into normal conversation and work people's mentality to what you need it to be. For that I recommend Wonder Words.
  14. The most accurate way to put it would be...


    Never a concept has been this clear!!...jejeje
  15. I'm curious as to all the people that responded to this question, which one's actually do Readings (let alone having written numerous books on the subject)?

    First and foremost -- DON'T TOUCH the Ian Rowland book or a book entitled TRADECRAFT until you have actually studied Cold Reading from the more tame and practical sources fir a year or two. Same goes with Jerome Finley's material in that it will overwhelm you (the price alone tends to do that).

    Start with Lee Earle's GENTLE ART OF COLD READING followed by Bob Cassidy's THE REAL WORK OF COLD READING and you'll have a reasonable foundation. The Next "MUST READ" book is Richard Webster's PSYCHOMETRY FROM A-Z followed by Ron Martin's TAROT READERS' NOTEBOOK. This will give you a firm and well rounded foundation as to what is legit when it comes to doing the work though I would suggest tracking down a copy of Brand Henderson's THE DANCE and the audio files of Richard Webster on Commercial Cold Reading (set of 3 MP3 files @ Lybrary.com).

    My introductory book on Cold Reading has just been pulled from the shelf or I'd point you to it, it has some other foundation tools to work with, namely basic Numerology which will take you a very long way.

    If you like videos check out John Rigg's "From the Cradle to the Grave" series.

    To Answer Your Question. . . there is a modern definition about Cold Reading used (invented by) magicians and cynics that basically classifies anything -- any type of Reading done -- as "Cold Reading" it is in fact Randi's favorite explanation for things. But as has been pointed out, true Cold Reading refers to the first time you've met and done a Reading for another and NOTHING other. Technically we all do a form of this every-time we meet someone new; we size them up and make our own judgments within a few moments or seconds in some cases, based on looks, manner of dress, language and education level and of course, the projection of success -- money.

    If you want to learn more feel free to PM me and I'll see about getting you a copy of that book, it has a resource list of several dozen other books that cover this topic.

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