Psychic cold reading is one of the techniques where showmen and mediums deduce the audienceâ€™s information and other details. They lead their audience to believe that they know this information because of their extra sensory perception.
In reality, psychic cold reading is where the audience is persuaded to tell details about themselves without them realizing they are divulging it on their own. Through the information that can be obtained through a personâ€™s body language, clothing, appearance, manners, a medium can do psychic cold reading. They would use high probability guesses and questions about the people and they would see if their projectile questioning has reached its desired effect or they are just shooting blanks.
There are various types of techniques associated with psychic cold reading. The first type involves delivery of a prepared spiel. The latest surveys and polls would help distinguish the stereotypes in the audience and thus they are the segmented market of the spiel. By using the data and theatrics, they persuade the audience that information is gathered through paranormal ways.
The second technique is the shot gun approach where the medium would ask a lot of questions rapidly hoping to invoke a reaction from the audience. The medium would just keenly observed the reactions from the audience and he can pinpoint who is mostly affected by his questions. He would then specify his questions to suit the audience. The use of vagueness and ambiguity or making the audience fill in the details and connecting them with their own lives is called the Forer effect. This technique uses Barnum statements, where statements seem to be directed at one person but in truth it applies to everyone.
Psychic cold reading has been around way before, even during the time of the great Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes literature. It may sound like a lot of mumbo jumbo or hocus pocus but it reality itâ€™s all in the eye.