By appearing to read minds, you can raise your cool factor among your friends. With a convincing enough act, even your enemies might hesitate to think a bad thought about you! But reading the signs and signals necessary to convince others of your mind-reading ability requires perceptive ability and a wide base of knowledge. Add to that a few tricks and techniques, and people will really wonder if you can read their mind.
Part 1 of 3:Training Your Fake Mind-Reading Abilities
1. Study psychology
Study psychology. Psychology is the study of the human mind and behavior, which can be put to use in your mind-reading endeavors. If you understand how people think, you can predict what they are thinking. A general course in psychology will give you good ammunition for your “mind-reading.” Many mentalists, who construct performances around mind-reading people, spend a considerable amount of time studying human psychology.
The easiest way, perhaps, for you to get a basic understanding of psychology will be to take a course in the subject. These may be available for an affordable cost at a local community college or community center.
Engage in daily psychological study by noting patterns you see in the behavior of those around you. You can collect these observations in a notebook for personal reference. This will also sharpen your observational abilities.
2. Research patterns and trends in human behavior
Research patterns and trends in human behavior. Though psychology looks into human thought patterns and behavior, you’ll want to take an in-depth look at trends and percentages concerning human behavior. For example, if you know that when offered four choices, a person is 92% likely to choose the third without any prodding on your part, this will give you a high percentage chance of predicting what the person is thinking in that situation.
A newly emerging study of human truthfulness, sometimes referred to as lie-spotting, might also help you “read” the mind of someone. All you need to do is catch that person in a lie, point it out, and when he asks, “How did you know?” simply reply, “I can read your mind.”
3. Build and show empathy
Build and show empathy. This has a dual purpose. When the person whose mind you are trying to “read” is at ease, they will be less guarded. This means that you’ll likely have more information available to you for making predictions about that person. Additionally, if your subject feels like you are of a similar mind, it will engage brain cells that sync him up with you, which will make your mind-reading easier as well.
Put people at ease while reading their mind by mirroring their motions. You don’t have to do exactly the same things they are, but by reusing the gestures of the person you are trying to mind-read, you’ll make them feel like they can trust you.
You might also want to use similar words and expressions to gain a person’s trust while mind-reading. If the person you are trying to read is timid, start off talking to them in a timid way. If the person is bold and brash, joke around and be more daring.
4. Train and use deductive reasoning
Train and use deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning is where you apply generally true rules to your observations about your mind-reading subject. In this way you can figure out or predict unknown information. For example, if you know that all people eat food, that lunch is usually eaten around midday, that your mind-reading subject has a small yellow stain on his shirt, and that it’s shortly after noon, you might deduce that your subject had a hot dog for lunch, as hot dogs are a food that frequently comes with mustard.
By logically connecting and making sense of generally true statements about people with regard to specific observations about your subject, you improve your odds of making a correct prediction. These predictions, in turn, will make it seem like you can read minds.
Part 2 of 3:Utilizing Micro-expressions
1. Learn to identify micro-expressions
Learn to identify micro-expressions. Micro-expressions are honest emotional expressions that cross your face whether you realize it or not. These expressions are separated into seven universal emotions: disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, contempt, and surprise. By teaching yourself to recognize these reflexive facial expressions, you can gain a better understanding of how people really feel about what you are talking about, and you can use this to your advantage when pretending to read minds.
Micro-expressions happen very quickly. Even if you know what you’re looking for, they can be difficult to spot. You may want to begin by finding YouTube videos online that show these expressions in slow motion to help develop your ability to see these emotions when attempting to “read” minds.
2. Make broad statements
Make broad statements. Broad statements will act as the net with which you will catch micro-expressions. The subject of your “mind-reading” won’t be able to help himself from responding to what you say with micro-expressions, so use whatever general information you have to make these statements in a conversational way. You might make observations about clothing, posture, accessories, or even word choice.
You may want to start off by telling your subject, “First let me ask you a few simple questions so I can harmonize my mind with yours to get a better reading.” This way, you can acclimate yourself to your subject’s body language while narrowing down what you know about him or her.
To give yourself a little wiggle room, you may want to tell people watching that, “Reading minds is very difficult. Sometimes I pick up information from other people and get information wrong. But I assure you if you are patient, I will prove to you I can read your mind.”
As an example, you might notice your subject is disheveled, but otherwise well groomed, you might say, “Today’s been a rough day for you. Or has it been a rough week? I sense that you’ve been struggling in your personal life lately. Is this true?” The micro-expressions responding to these questions and statements will help you determine whether you’ve predicted correctly.
You might also tell a story or make several rapid fire statements and read micro-expressions that occur as you tell it to your subject. Try to keep it as broad as possible. Use topics like work, girlfriends, boyfriends, animals, exercise, family, and so on.
3. Distinguish looks of disgust
Distinguish looks of disgust. Disgust is most easily recognized by the wrinkled nose that accompanies it. You should also see raised upper eyelids, lower lip, and cheeks. With this expression, most lines will fall below the lower eyelid. It will be similar to the face you associate with a bad smell.
Things that disgust your subject are generally things he will avoid. For example, if you notice the disgust micro-expression when you mention a child or baby while talking to your subject, you could be reasonably safe in the assumption, “You’ve never wanted to have children.”
4. Notice and avoid anger
Notice and avoid anger. Anger is characterized by bulging or hard staring eyes. You should also find tension in the lower eyelid and lips, which will compress into a square shape. Vertical lines should appear between the brows, which should be low and pulled together. It is also common for the lower jaw to jut out with this expression.
Anger in your mind-reading subject can ruin your performance, even if all your predictions are correct. An angry subject is one that might decide to deny your correct predictions out of spite.
You may want to take steps to calm your subject to prevent a hot temper from ruining your fake mind-reading. To do this, you might say, “I try to respect people’s boundaries when I’m mind-reading; if I’ve overstepped those bounds, you have my apologies. Shall we change the topic?”
5. See the signs of fear
See the signs of fear. Fear, you will notice, has raised, flat, centered lines in the brow that usually pull together. A person expressing fear will have raised upper eyelids, but the lower one should be tense and upward oriented also. You should see the upper white of the eye but not the lower, and the mouth should be slightly opened and tense.
Your situation will dictate how you respond, but in many cases, if you see the fear micro-expression you should change the topic or your approach. Fear can make your subject more guarded, which will make it harder for you to glean information from him.
In some cases, fear may mean you have guessed an intimate or personal detail. If you don’t want to embarrass your subject in front of other onlookers, you may want to shift your predictions to new topics.
6. Spot sadness
Spot sadness. Sadness can be noticed by the upside down triangle it forms below the eyebrow. The corners of the lip will be oriented downward but the jaw should come upward a bit. You may also notice some pouting in the lower lip.
Sadness can sometimes point to recent loss. Some people may be less receptive to you “reading” their mind about this kind of thing. You’ll have to use your best judgement for each situation.
7. Perceive happiness in your subject
Perceive happiness in your subject. Happiness is marked by an uplifted appearance. Cheeks and the corners of the mouth will be up-raised and pulled back and up. You should look for a wrinkle running from the outside of the nose to the outside of your lip. Crow’s feet generally appear near the eyes.
This micro-expression can be a sign that you’re on the right track in your deductions. When you see the happiness micro-expression in your subject, you may want to apply your more in depth deductive reasoning to the topic.
People who are happy will also be more willing to cooperate with you. Cooperation is important for your pretend mind-reading. For you to make correct predictions, you need your subject to unwittingly provide you with information.
8. Catch looks of contempt
Catch looks of contempt. Contempt is best noticed by its lack of symmetry. Generally, with contempt and hatred, you’ll find one side of the mouth raised, creating a skewed shape. You might also notice features similar to a scowl, represented by central, hard lines between the brows and glaring eyes.
Contempt can be a kind of self-excluding emotion, which can make it difficult for you draw information out of your subject. When you see contempt in the face of someone you’re plying your mind-reading tricks, you should take measures to make that person feel included.
9. Recognize surprise
Recognize surprise. Surprise is marked by eyebrows that are raised and curved. You should notice that the skin under the brow is somewhat stretched, the wrinkles on the forehead should be oriented left to right, and the jaw should drop at least slightly but without tension. The eyelids will be normally opened, revealing the whites of the eye all the way around the pupil and iris.
Surprise can indicate that you’ve struck upon something meaningful to the subject of your mind-reading. When you notice surprise in response to one of your broad statements or during your conversation with the subject, you may want to delve deeper into that topic.
Part 3 of 3:Reading Minds
1. Choose your subject carefully
Choose your subject carefully. Not everyone is going to be ideal for your pretend mind-reading activities. Some individuals will offer you plenty of information at a glance. Others may be unreadable even for an expert. By maintaining control of your choice of subject, you’ll ensure a higher rate of success in your mind-reading.
You may want to avoid choosing individuals who are overeager to volunteer to have their mind read. These people are often more interested in being the center of attention, and will likely be less interested in interacting with you and more interested in 15 minutes of fame.
Individuals who are a little reserved but respond favorably to your humor and conversation should be prioritized. These people are, in most cases, focused on you and what you are saying, making them ideal for cold reading and micro-expression reading.
2. Do your homework for planned mind-reading situations
Do your homework for planned mind-reading situations. If you know you’re walking into a situation where your mind-reading will be tested, prepare yourself. Knowing the kind of people you’ll be mind-reading, their backgrounds, beliefs, and attitudes will all help you to puzzle out what they are thinking.
For example, you might learn beforehand a crowd you’ll be mind-reading comes from a rural area. So when you pull a person at random out of a crowd, note his slightly dirty cowboy boots and Chevy truck key fob, and then proclaim he’s a farmer (or does a job related to agriculture), everyone will think you really can read minds.
If your research reveals a large portion of the community you’re mind-reading participates in religion, you might say, “I’m sensing you’ve been influenced heavily by religion in your life.”
3. Use reflex reactions in your subject
Use reflex reactions in your subject. In particular, you might rest your hand on your subject’s shoulder to read his muscular response to what you’re saying. While some people can hide the facial expressions of their emotions, very few can control their reflex muscular responses to things that are said. This is the same principle that lie detectors use to work.
Another trick you might use to read someone’s muscular response to the what you say is by holding your subject’s hand. You might explain this need for contact by saying something like, “A physical connection improves the psychic link.”
4. Admit failure where applicable
Admit failure where applicable. Even expert level mentalists, who make a living off performing mind-reading tricks, sometimes misread the signs in their subject. The best thing to do in these situations is to offer an explanation, maintain positive, and try again.
When you make a mistake, you might claim there was “psychic interference.” You could also claim that you were picking up a psychic signal from someone close by.
You may have to fail many times before you develop a knack for reading the appearance and responses of your subject well enough to appear to be mind-reading. As you train your abilities, you’ll become better able to read the signs.