Cold reading is a technique often used by mentalists, fortune tellers, psychics, and mediums to determine details about another person in order to convince them that the reader knows much more about a subject than he or she actually does. Mentalism is an ancient performing art in which its practitioners known as mentalists, use mental acuity Cold reading, Warm reading, Hot reading Fortune-telling is the practice of predicting the future usually of an individual through mystical or supernatural means and often for commercial gain The word psychic (ˈsaɪkɨk from the Greek psychikos—"of the soul mental" refers to the claimed ability to perceive things hidden from the normal senses Mediumship is a practice in religious beliefs such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Louisiana Voodoo, and Even without prior knowledge of a person, a practiced cold reader can still quickly obtain a great deal of information about the subject by carefully analyzing the person's body language, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, manner of speech, place of origin, etc. Body language is a term for Communication using Body movements or Gestures instead of or in addition to sounds verbal language or other communication Clothing (also called clothes, accoutrements, accouterments, or habiliments) protects the Human body from extreme Weather Fashion refers to styles of dress (but can also include cuisine literature art architecture and general comportment that are popular in a culture at any given time Haircut redirects here For the financial term see Haircut (finance. Gender comprises a range of differences between men and women extending from the biological to the social Sexual orientation is believed to refer to "an enduring pattern of emotional romantic and/or sexual attractions to men women or both sexes A religion is a set of Tenets and practices often centered upon specific Supernatural and moral claims about Reality, the Cosmos The term race or racial group usually refers to the concept of categorizing Humans into Populations or groups on the basis of various sets Education encompasses both the Teaching and Learning of Knowledge, proper conduct, and technical competency Speech refers to the processes associated with the production and perception of Sounds used in Spoken language. Cold readers commonly employ high probability guesses about the subject, quickly picking up on signals from their subjects as to whether their guesses are in the right direction or not, and then emphasizing and reinforcing any chance connections the subjects acknowledge while quickly moving on from missed guesses.
Before starting the actual reading, the reader will typically try to elicit cooperation from the subject, saying something like, "I often see images that are a bit unclear and which may sometimes mean more to you than to me; if you help, we can together uncover new things about you. " One of the most crucial elements of a convincing cold reading is a subject eager to make connections or reinterpret vague statements in any way that will help the reader appear to have made specific predictions or intuitions. While the reader will do most of the talking, it is the subject who provides the meaning.
After ensuring that the subject will play along, the reader will make a number of probing statements or questions, typically using variations of the methods noted below. The subject will then reveal further information with their replies (whether verbal or non-verbal) and the cold reader can continue from there, pursuing promising lines of inquiry and very quickly abandoning or avoiding unproductive ones. In general, while much information seems to come from the reader, most of the facts and statements come from the subject, which are then refined and restated by the reader so as to reinforce the idea that the reader got something correct.
Even very subtle cues such as changes in facial expression or body language can indicate if a particular line of questioning is effective or not. A facial expression results from one or more motions or positions of the Muscles of the Face. Body language is a term for Communication using Body movements or Gestures instead of or in addition to sounds verbal language or other communication Combining the techniques of cold reading with information obtained covertly (also called "hot reading") can leave a strong impression that the reader knows or has access to a great deal of information about the subject. Hot reading is the use of foreknowledge when giving a " Psychic " reading in Stage magic performances Because the majority of time during a reading is spent dwelling on the "hits" the reader is able to obtain, while the time spent recognizing "misses" is minimized, the effect is to give an impression that the cold reader knows far more about the subject than any ordinary stranger could.
The mentalist branch of the magic community approves of "reading" as long as it is presented strictly as an artistic entertainment and one is not pretending to be psychic. 
The most comprehensive book on the study and performance of Cold Reading techniques is The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading by British illusionist Ian Rowland. Ian Rowland is a writer and entertainer who lives in South Croydon just outside London, England. In this book he discusses over twenty different techniques including The Rainbow Ruse, Fine Flattery and Barnum Statements. Making use of palm reading, tarot cards, runes, and other forms of divination can greatly help the reader and reinforce the idea the performer is NOT reading the client's mind but is using a magical, alternate, information gathering tool which is being interpreted a multitude of times and a variety of ways. "I am only reading the cards. I am just a channel for something else. I don't know how this works. " Only by practice can a reader's skill be achieved. The best way to begin as a cold reader is to study a stranger and read them silently using your creative imagination. 
"Shotgunning" is a commonly-used cold reading technique, allegedly used by purported television psychics and spiritual mediums: Sylvia Browne, James Van Praagh, Colin Fry and John Edward in particular have all been accused by skeptics of using shotgunning techniques in their stage and television shows. Sylvia Browne (born Sylvia Celeste Shoemaker October 19, 1936) is a best-selling American Author on the subject of Spirituality James Van Praagh (b August 23 1958, Bayside, New York) is a best-selling author and spiritual medium. Colin Fry (born 1962) is an English television performer who has become one of his country's best known Spiritualist medium personalities John Edward McGee Jr (born October 19, 1969) better known as John Edward, is an American author and Television personality In ordinary usage skepticism or scepticism ( Greek 'σκέπτομαι' skeptomai, to look about to consider see also spelling differences The psychic or reader quickly offers a huge quantity of very general information, often to an entire audience (some of which is very likely to be correct, near correct or at the very least, provocative or evocative to someone present), observes their subjects' reactions (especially their body language), and then narrows the scope, acknowledging particular people or concepts and refining the original statements according to those reactions to promote an emotional response.
This technique is named after a shotgun, as it fires a spray of small projectiles in the hope that one or more of the shots will strike the target. A shotgun (also known as a scattergun) is a Firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number A majority of people in a room will, at some point for example, have lost an older relative or known at least one person with a common name like "Mike" or "John".
Shotgunning might include a series of vague statements such as:
"Barnum statements" named after P.T. Barnum, the American showman, may also be used. The Forer effect (also called personal validation fallacy or the Barnum Effect after P Phineas Taylor Barnum (July 5 1810 &ndash April 7 1891 was an American Showman remembered for Hoaxes and for founding the Circus that became the These statements seem personal, yet apply to many people. And while seemingly specific, such statements are often open-ended or give the reader the maximum amount of "wiggle room" in a reading. They are designed to elicit identifying responses from people. The statements can then be developed into longer and more sophisticated paragraphs and seem to reveal great amounts of detail about a person. The effect relies in part on the eagerness of people to fill in details and make connections between what is said and some aspect of their own lives (often searching their entire life's history to find some connection, or reinterpreting the statement in any number of different possible ways so as to make it apply to themselves). A talented and charismatic reader can sometimes even bully a subject into admitting a connection, demanding over and over that they acknowledge a particular statement as having some relevance and maintaining that they just aren't thinking hard enough, or are repressing some important memory.
Statements of this type might include:
Regarding the last statement, if the subject is old enough, his or her father is quite likely to be dead, and this statement would easily apply to a number of conditions such as heart disease, pneumonia, diabetes, most forms of cancer, and in fact to a great majority of causes of death.
The rainbow ruse is a crafted statement which simultaneously awards the subject with a specific personality trait, as well as the opposite of that trait. With such a phrase, a cold reader can "cover all possibilities" and appear to have made an accurate deduction in the mind of the subject, despite the fact that a rainbow ruse statement is vague and contradictory. This technique is used since personality traits are not quantifiable, and also because nearly everybody has experienced both sides of a particular emotion at some time in their lives.
Statements of this type might include:
A cold reader can choose from a variety of personality traits, think of its opposite, and then bind the two together in a phrase, vaguely linked by factors such as mood, time, or potential.
Performers such as Lynne Kelly, Kari Coleman, Ian Rowland and Derren Brown have used these techniques at either private fortune-telling sessions or open forum "talking with the dead" sessions in the manner of mediums such as John Edward and Sylvia Browne. Kari Coleman is an actress known for her work in television in the 1990s and 2000s Ian Rowland is a writer and entertainer who lives in South Croydon just outside London, England. Derren Victor Brown (born 27 February 1971 is an English magician, psychological Illusionist, Mentalist, painter and Mediumship is a practice in religious beliefs such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Louisiana Voodoo, and John Edward McGee Jr (born October 19, 1969) better known as John Edward, is an American author and Television personality Sylvia Browne (born Sylvia Celeste Shoemaker October 19, 1936) is a best-selling American Author on the subject of Spirituality Only after receiving acclaim and applause from their audience do they reveal that they needed no psychic power for the performance, only a sound knowledge of psychology and cold reading. Many famous psychics, on the other hand, claim that their abilities stem from paranormal means, and deny that they are employing cold reading techniques. The word psychic (ˈsaɪkɨk from the Greek psychikos—"of the soul mental" refers to the claimed ability to perceive things hidden from the normal senses Paranormal is an Umbrella term used to describe unusual Phenomena or experiences that lack an obvious Scientific explanation
In an episode of his Trick of the Mind series broadcast in March 2006, Derren Brown demonstrated how easily people can be influenced through cold reading techniques by repeating the famous experiment in 1948, by psychologist Bertram R. Forer. Derren Victor Brown (born 27 February 1971 is an English magician, psychological Illusionist, Mentalist, painter and Derren Victor Brown (born 27 February 1971 is an English magician, psychological Illusionist, Mentalist, painter and The Forer effect (also called personal validation fallacy or the Barnum Effect after P Year 1948 ( MCMXLVIII) was a Leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Mental health professional A psychologist is a practitioner of Psychology, the systematic investigation of the mind including Behavior, Cognition, Bertram R Forer ( 24 October 1914 — 6 April 2000) was an American psychologist best known for describing the Forer
Penn Jilette detailed another attempt at debunking claims of psychic ability on his March 1st, 2007 episode of his Free FM Radio program. Penn Fraser Jillette (born March 5, 1955) is an American Comedian, Illusionist, juggler and Writer known This article describes the network and branding For the lone station remaining that uses it see KLSX. In a sequence planned for an episode of Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular, Jilette's girlfriend at the time (unnamed) was tutored in cold reading techniques and set up at a store front at a fake book signing. Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular was a weekly American television Variety show hosted by Penn and Teller that appeared on the FX Networks There, over the course of two days she used the cold reading techniques learned (as well as improv skills she had acquired in acting classes) to convince 20 people she was indeed psychic. The sequence was never aired due to the emotional toll this took on his girlfriend and the concern by the producers they would be exploiting the people she did "readings" of.
Former New Age practitioner Karla McLaren said, "I didn't understand that I had long used a form of cold reading in my own work! I was never taught cold reading and I never intended to defraud anyone; I simply picked up the technique through cultural osmosis. New Age ( New Age Movement and New Age Spirituality) is a Social Collective Phenomenon and a Spiritual Nature " McLaren has further stated that since she was always very perceptive, she could easily figure out many of the issues her "readees" brought into sessions with them. In order to reduce the appearance of unusual expertise that might have created a power differential, she posed her observations as questions rather than facts. This attempt to be polite, she realized, actually invited the readee to, as McLaren has said, "lean into the reading" and give her more pertinent information. 
After a person has done hundreds of readings their skills may improve to the point where they may start believing they can read minds, asking themselves if their success is because of psychology, intuition or a psychic ability.  This point of thought is known by some skeptics of the paranormal as the transcendental temptation.  Magic historian and occult investigator Milbourne Christopher warned the transcendental choice may lead one unknowingly into a belief in the occult and a deterioration of reason. Milbourne Christopher (1914 - 1984 was one of America's foremost illusionists, performing in sixty-eight countries