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Topic: Correlation between a psychological force's success and audience's intelligence etc...
Message: Posted by: ragingcalm (Jul 17, 2007 04:54PM)
I was wondering whether anyone had noticed such a relationship. i.e the more educated/intelligent the audience is, the less likely they are to take the bait?

I found nearly all the verbal/numerical forces in ps1 and ps2 to be blindingly obvious to the spectator.

By which I mean that whilst a mentalist has to be selective in deciding which category of question to ask since the available answers must to be statistically limited to the extent that the mentalist can predict the response, the corollary of this requirement is that the other spectators in the audience, merely have to ask themeselves what response they would have chosen had they been selected, to come to the conclusion that most people would have chosen the predicted outcome.

There is no inherent magic in the knowledge that most people chose red hammers, 37 etc... Given the abudance of occassions in ones youth when people ask one another to pick a number between 1-100, I assume such results are typically of little significance to the spectator. Consequentially, I have been cautious in using such forces in group situations.

I do not mean to suggest that discovering a force is by any means simple, since the mentalist/author must select a question to which the possible array of replies is statistically limited. Rather, that for a verbal force to be effective in an effect, the methodolgy/presentation must disguise the force's intrinsic importance to the success of the effect.

Apologies, if the above is unclear. I was hoping for comment from professional mentalists on:

a) the effectiveness (sure-firedness) of psychological forces in relationship to how intelligent they perceive their audience to be, and

b) the affect of a psychological force on the audience's perception of an inexplicable act of mentalism i.e if the force is not dressed up, is the reaction evoked from the audience less than hoped?

c) what methods people use for disguising common psychological forces.

Message: Posted by: Rocketeer (Jul 17, 2007 07:58PM)
I think the negative correlation between intelligence and "forceability" is only moderate. I think there's a stronger negative correlation between the audience's exposure to forces and how easily they can be impressed by most forces. If people don't wonder about "37" or other force on their way home, they sure will the next time someone tries to pull it off.

I think the key is to keep trying to discover new forces. There are only so many elephants in Denmark.
Message: Posted by: mesmer (Jul 18, 2007 01:50AM)
The key is to IMPROVISE....since for P.Force, I do it after I judge carfeully my subject profile

answering your question, based on my own experiences

a) the effectiveness (sure-firedness) of psychological forces in relationship to how intelligent the audience to be

My Answer: of course it does matter, but their Profile is also plays rule here, and the rapport that already establish beetween the performer and the subject also play major rule

b) the affect of a psychological force on the audience's perception of an inexplicable act of mentalism i.e if the force is not dressed up, is the reaction evoked from the audience less than hoped?

My Answer: I never done P.Force all by itself, I always combine it with others means and use the P.F within other routine to creat more sheets & layer of deception, so if the force is not dress up, I beleive the reaction is less than I hoped for and make the effect shallow

c) what methods people use for disguising common psychological forces

My Answer: I put more layer in the effect and never solely use P.F, and I will put different method to achieve multiple climax and one of them is P.F

Hope I get your Question right, and do appologize for my poor english
Message: Posted by: Silvertongue (Jul 18, 2007 02:56AM)
Masked by the viel of presentation the audience will see nothing...
I use these forces regularily and have had great success wih them, not 100% but more recently I've been working on outs and I agree with mesmer, I can almost tell with a little certainty who is most likely to pick the force items, that being said I pose it as a test, so if they hit I'm good and if not, its their fault...
Message: Posted by: mesmer (Jul 18, 2007 03:09AM)
On 2007-07-18 03:56, Silvertongue wrote:
I agree with mesmer,.... if they hit I'm good and if not, its their fault...

the rule of thumb...we never wrong....just not in a good wave length...but in a good day usualy it works :) LoL
Message: Posted by: Mentalisten (Jul 18, 2007 07:30AM)
I agree with Mesmer also in terms of combining PF's with other effects or routines. I tend to use them as apprent sugestibility-like tests where if its a hit I say that this next effect will be based upon this premise.... But if it goes wrong I explain how the spec is not easily led and that the next effect may not work (which of course is not true - haha). This allows for some fun improvisation etc.
Similarly, you can incorporate PFs into an actual full effect such as in Osterlind's Steno ESP whereby the force of 37 is portrayed as being the less impressive prediction within a mental epic-type effect. A little creativity will mask the obviousness or likely probablity and can often deter the spectator from even attempting to try and figure it out.

Hope that helps somewhat

Message: Posted by: james1a (Jul 18, 2007 01:00PM)
One problem with psychological forces, that are based on some psychological probability is that the mentalist is applying it to one person, Uri Geller was the first person I saw who overcame this problem brilliantly by applying the forces to the audience. Although immediately after this there were many claims to having performed this before Geller, you do realise with this Geller was never wrong.
The other item is that of course we are not very good a understanding the odds on any event occuring. Flipping a coin and calling correctly head or tails is remarkably strong. A common error is that if you perform a one out of two chances then a one out of five, then a one out of fifty two, then each subsequent is proportionally stronger, this is untrue.
Message: Posted by: Carlos the Great (Jul 18, 2007 02:11PM)
On 2007-07-18 14:00, james1a wrote:
...A common error is that if you perform a one out of two chances then a one out of five, then a one out of fifty two, then each subsequent is proportionally stronger, this is untrue.

Why does it have to be "proportionally stronger"? Can't it just be stronger (which it is)? To flip it the other way, I think it would be a horrendous idea to do 1 out of 52, then 1 of 5, then 1 of 2. While I wouldn't say it was "proportionately" weaker, it is definitely weaker. Also, I have actually never heard anybody say that 1 in 52 is 26 times better than 1 in 2. Is this a magic club thing or something? Just curious where you get your info. from cuz I have never, ever heard it.

But, back to the topic, I hope it is obvious that "proportionate" or not, there needs to be a progression. If we don't agree on that, then no point in reading further. So assuming we need a progression, we come back to the idea of forces. Without giving too much info (is there too much already in this thread?), I have had similiar concerns about psych. forces being too obvious. However, with the risk of being labeled one of the throng or whatever, I have found Jim Callahan's work on the matter quite invigorating. Lord of the Horses also has some interesting thoughts (I am specifically referring to Sigma here but in other of his work too).

Message: Posted by: JohnWells (Jul 18, 2007 02:51PM)
I think what James1a is getting at is dead on. In "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" you have the coin flipping in the first scene. Even though each flip is an independent event, getting the same result every time is perceived as significant because of the repetition.

One of the best uses of the psychological force is "hard copy thought broadcast" on Jim Callahan's Something DVD.
Message: Posted by: Carlos the Great (Jul 18, 2007 03:00PM)
Yes, each flip is an independent event but a "series" of independent events still has a probability associated with it. Getting 1 out of 1 (1 flip) is 0.5, getting 2 out of 2 (both flips correct) is 0.25 and so on. Now what James1a said is that "A common error is ... each subsequent is proportionally stronger, this is untrue".

I don't think that anybody can make ANY argument about proportionality, esp. since it is easy enough to introduce the odds yourself.

I really don't see where he talks about strength through repetition. In fact, he is making the exact OPPOSITE argument, allow me to refresh everybody's memory:

Here is what he said:

"Flipping a coin and calling correctly head or tails is remarkably strong. A common error is that if you perform a one out of two chances then a one out of five, then a one out of fifty two, then each subsequent is proportionally stronger, this is untrue. "

Reading that again, I believe he is wrong and that JohnWells, you are reading something else. Please let me know if I am misreading something here though.

Message: Posted by: CAROLINI (Jul 18, 2007 03:13PM)
Please keep Annemmann's quote in mind, "the audience is not as dumb as we think they are."
Message: Posted by: Silvertongue (Jul 18, 2007 04:58PM)
Its in the presentation...
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Jul 18, 2007 05:18PM)
I thank those who commented on my work.

I would like to mention that Hard Copy Thought Broadcast from the SOMETHING DVD is sold out.
(Was limited to 100 copies)
My personal favorite using PF's is Tossing and Turning I describe it as Hard Copy Thought Broadcast' (on Caffeine & Gin) from the last DVD Tea with Alice & J ack.

I will not discuss this on an open board but let me say things such as this must be layered and deep not the superficial offerings that I have seen so many 'name' Mentalists offer up.

Also the forum for the new DVD has some really great additions and ideas.
(Possibly the best Tossed Out Deck presentation ever.)


Message: Posted by: ragingcalm (Jul 18, 2007 08:53PM)
James1a is,
I believe, correct to an extent.

correctly predicting the outcome where the chance of success is 1 and 52 is more impressive than where the chance is 1 in 2. On this everyone is agreed.

The point I believe James1a is making regarding subsequent correct predictions is that the subsequent probabilities of the guesses do not necessarily evoke the same emotional response from the spectator, or an emotional response that is proportional to the probability of success in the second prediction. Hold that thought.

1)Correctly guessing the orientation of a coin 5 times in a row is arguably more impressive than correctly divining/predicting a chosen card. Why? The medium. Coins are seen as intrinsically natural objects in the sense that it is difficult to manipulate them in the simple act of tossin a coin. Cards are seen as the lay person as a forum for slieght of hand and manipulation.

2) taking a packet of 10 cards and correctly predicting the chosen card, then doing the same with a packet of 20 and then 52, will arguably not evoke a proportionate emotional response in the spectator. A similar response could be evoked by doing the prediction with 10 cards 3 time. Why? The effect is essentially the same even if the parameters change sligtly because the medium is the same. The magician is proving his powers over cards. The spectator will assume that the same method used for 10 cards will apply to 50 cards hence the subsequent predictions are essentially the same effect.

These two observations shed light on Jame's statement. They suggest that the relevat variable in such a demonstration is the medium of the divination. Thus if the medium changes i.e from coins to cards, with ever dwindling probabilities of a success divination, then, contrary to James' suggestion, the emotional response may be proportionate, or more approximately proporionate, to the probability of success in the latter diviations... Discuss.

P.S: Anyone know of an effect where a stack (say 8) coins are all simultaneously tossed into the air and the mentalist correctly predicts how many are face up and face down. Sounds like a strong effect and I'd be surprised if it's not in the literature, since it would appear eminently do able using a pk ring and a blindfold? If not do I have any takers for the marketing of such an effect? :)

Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Jul 18, 2007 09:01PM)
Yes it do can be done with cards coins, buisness cards, bottel caps, etc.

J ack
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Jul 18, 2007 09:29PM)
Sorry typed to quickly.
It can be done.

The above should read.

J ack
Message: Posted by: Arnon (Jul 19, 2007 02:11PM)
At least one method comes to mind with coins (or playing cards, or business cards, etc.), and the coins could be tossed a few times with different results, yet I could announce in real time (before the spec tosses the coins) how many will be face up vs. face down.

No PK ring, no magnets, no stooges - No kidding!

If there's enough interest, I'll consider writing it up as a PDF.

Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Jul 20, 2007 06:42PM)
Heck I predicted the outcome using imaginary coins on this forum.
Here http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=149794&forum=15

Psycholgical forces are not just about getting people to pick a target.

But it was an interactive event and it had nothing to do with mentalist tricks.

J ack

Message: Posted by: ragingcalm (Jul 21, 2007 06:45AM)
Arnon am I correct in assuming your method uses a blindfold of some description?
Message: Posted by: Arnon (Jul 21, 2007 11:20AM)

Nope :lol:

(19 questions left)

Message: Posted by: coupcoupdaddy (Jul 21, 2007 11:45AM)
Will it work on Mensa members?
Message: Posted by: entity (Jul 21, 2007 12:08PM)
I think that Psychological forces aren't so much dependent upon the intelligence of the audience, or lack of it, so much as they rely on being presented in a believable context that also disguises the fact that it's a force.

If the context isn't believable, the smart ones will feel annoyed at being thought stupid enough to fall for it, and they will purposefully become perverse in their choices, purely out of resentment. If the Psychological force isn't well disguised, EVERYONE will either not care, or will turn on the performer, and the force just won't work.

As has been mentioned before, Geller clicked onto the notion of using the entire audience at once with his Psychological forces, ensuring a large number of hits every time. One on one psychological forces are not always 100%, but there are back-up methods to guarantee a successful outcome. And sometimes, it's okay to just fail. Study Chan Canasta.

Re: Context... take the 37 force as an example. If you were to say to someone: "Think of a two digit number between one and fifty... Make both digits odd and different from each other... You're thinking 37, right?"

...this might work on a percentage of people, but many might start to consider the limitations you're putting on their choices and suspect they are being led.

If, however, you were to say: "I'm tired of reading other people's thoughts. Why don't you read mine, instead? My younger (in my case, you mileage may vary) brother (or Uncle or whatever is appropriate for you, age-wise) had a birthday about 10 days ago. I'll write his age down on this business card and put it face down on the table. I'll try to send the number to your mind. Oh, you're new at this? Okay, I'll give you a couple of hints: He's old enough to vote and drink and gamble and all of those nasty things... and hmmm... let's see... BOTH of the numbers in his age are different odd numbers... but that's all you get from me... Wait!!! I just got a flash... I've a feeling you might miss by two... try to get it right on, please. I want you to get it right on. I'll send you the number... NOW!! How old was my younger brother ten days ago?"

This is a believable context for most people. The force is hidden within the premise. Now they are reading your thoughts, not you reading theirs, so they have less reason for trying to screw you up, because if they do, it'll be making themselves wrong, not you.

By adding the "flash" about missing by two, you protect yourself and heighten the opportunity for a hit. They can say 35, 37 or 39 (the most likely choices) and you can show that you wrote 37. They will remind you that you said they might miss by two, if they've said 35 or 39.

These are fairly well known dodges for this effect, but they demonstrate the idea of placing a psychological force into a context that is believable and that hides the method.

A currently marketed product called BETWEEN THE LINES is an excellent example of this that takes the Psychological force to an even more profound level.


- entity
Message: Posted by: DrTodd (Jul 21, 2007 12:09PM)
I can recommend Naked Mentalism by Jon Thompson, which gets behind the forces in PS1 and PS2 and adds many more options for getting from A to B. His naked book test is a triumph of statistics over bluff....
Message: Posted by: Arnon (Jul 21, 2007 12:56PM)
On 2007-07-21 12:45, thomas hastings wrote:
Will it work on Mensa members?


(18 questions to go) :D

Message: Posted by: coupcoupdaddy (Jul 21, 2007 01:45PM)
Do you have to toss them up in the air?
Message: Posted by: Arnon (Jul 21, 2007 01:57PM)
Nope, but somebody does in order to get them to land in a combination of heads and tails.

(Pardon the slight sarcasm)


(17 questions to go, IF YOU MUST!)
Message: Posted by: fishwasher (Jul 21, 2007 02:00PM)
Can it be done impromtu? :)

BTW if you write it up I would be interested in it
Message: Posted by: Arnon (Jul 21, 2007 02:18PM)

(A hit - uh oh) :D


(Are you guys serious?)
(16 questions to go)

Why don't you ask Jim/Jack who claims he does it with IMAGINARY COINS for REAL!
(Is that a contradiction in terms?)
(Or go ahead and wade through his 38-page thread - I won't do it - I guess I'm passing up a miracle! - my loss (?))
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (Jul 22, 2007 02:40PM)
Are there more objects in play than spectator knows, Arnon?
Message: Posted by: Arnon (Jul 23, 2007 12:29AM)
Good question!


(yikes - I won't last the next 15 questions to go) :D


P.S. Did I really answer a deceased person's question? :lol:
Message: Posted by: DT3 (Jul 23, 2007 12:42AM)
On 2007-07-23 01:29, arnon wrote:

P.S. Did I really answer a deceased person's question? :lol:

14 Left to go.

Message: Posted by: harishjose (Jul 23, 2007 04:48AM)
I have always felt that the psychological forcing depends mainly on EQ rathan than IQ. Almost in the likes of "everybody cannot be hypnotised" line.

EQ - Emotional Quotient

People who are composed all the time, may not be susceptible to minor suggestions. But with good subtlties, and a whole lot of experience - a good accuracy can be obtained.
Message: Posted by: magic4545 (Jul 24, 2007 08:27AM)
Don't forget the likeability factor. If your character onstage is a smart alecky, comdical one, the audience may 'fight' you and try to be smarty, as well. Even simple mentalism can be messed up quite a bit by an audience that feels that YOU think that they're less intelligent. They'll find a way to show you who's the boss...
Message: Posted by: coupcoupdaddy (Jul 24, 2007 09:57AM)
Is so.