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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Your preference: The psychological approach vs the paranormal approach. (17 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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IbiMania
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As mentalism is more intimate and interactive than magic, performers tend to give longer explanations regarding the premise of the effect. These explanations often cover justifications for using props or methods etc. So when setting the premise, which broader approach do you take?

Psychology: saying that you will use body language, eye movement, facial expressions, their personality etc. to predict or find out their choices

or

Paranormal: claiming that you will use astrology, palmistry, crystal ball, your psychic ability etc. to achieve the effect?

Please mention which approach do you take more often and why. Personally, I would pick pseudo-psychology for the sole reason that it is convincing.
Chaz93
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Neither: Demonstrate phenomena with no overt claims, allowing the audience to make up their minds for themselves. I chose that route because after always opening my shows with a "I am not a psychic" disclaimer I realized it doesn't matter, there will always be people in the audience who swear that I am one, so now I present it at the start as "Some people say this is all psychology, some people say it's psychic... I leave it up to you to determine what you believe you are seeing tonight."
IbiMania
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Chaz93, if you leave it up to them, there is a chance they may dismiss it as a trick.
IAIN
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On Jul 24, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
Chaz93, if you leave it up to them, there is a chance they may dismiss it as a trick.

i would say its nearly always defined by the performance, rather than what you claim...

people think derren is for real, dr hoy opened with "i'm a fake!" and had believers come up to him afterwards...and a thousand other variants...

for, its all framed around the imagination...
mastermindreader
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Neither is more inherently believable. It all depends on the performer, his persona and whether his claimed abilities are consistent with the effects he demonstrates.

If you do a search I think you'll find we've had a least a dozen conversations on this topic.
IbiMania
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On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Neither is more inherently believable. It all depends on the performer, his persona and whether his claimed abilities are consistent with the effects he demonstrates.

If you do a search I think you'll find we've had a least a dozen conversations on this topic.


HOLY MOLLY, did Bob Cassidy just respond to my thread :O

Okay guys, I would like to rephrase my question: Patter aside, what would you prefer your spectator thinking about your performance? That what you did was supernatural or super-scientific? OR As long as they are amazed, you do not care how they think you accomplished your effect?

and Why, (This why being subjective) as I would love to get personal opinions from pros around here.
George Hunter
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The two P's (Psychic and Psychologist) do not exhaust the available perspectives or personas available to Performance Mentalism.

Since my terminal degree is in Communication Studies (Northwestern), in performances I talk very briefly about communication, and the possibilities of mind-to-mind communication that may largely bypass the traditional five senses. One may, of course, assert that I take a "psychological" approach. But the scientific study of psychology only began in fairly recent history, while the study of human communication (intra-personal, interpersonal, and public) has been around since before Plato, and includes many themes of inquiry beyond what psychologists focus on. So there is no reason to privilege the language of the more recent discipline. And there is no reason to limit one's options for a persona to psychic or psychologist. Performers in this generation may pioneer a range of persona options.

Nevertheless, following Richard Osterlind and others, I make no explicit claims of any kind of extraordinary powers. Let the people decide; they will anyway.

George Hunter
"Mentalist Subordinaire"
mastermindreader
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I want those who think it's all psychological to keep thinking that.

I want those who think it's paranormal to continue to think that.

I want those who think its both to believe that.

But, most of all, regardless of what they believe or don't believe, I want everyone to be entertained and mystified. (And maybe even argue among themselves about what they just saw.)
IbiMania
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On Jul 24, 2014, George Hunter wrote:
The two P's (Psychic and Psychologist) do not exhaust the available perspectives or personas available to Performance Mentalism.

Since my terminal degree is in Communication Studies (Northwestern), in performances I talk very briefly about communication, and the possibilities of mind-to-mind communication that may largely bypass the traditional five senses. One may, of course, assert that I take a "psychological" approach. But the scientific study of psychology only began in fairly recent history, while the study of human communication (intra-personal, interpersonal, and public) has been around since before Plato, and includes many themes of inquiry beyond what psychologists focus on. So there is no reason to privilege the language of the more recent discipline. And there is no reason to limit one's options for a persona to psychic or psychologist. Performers in this generation may pioneer a range of persona options.

Nevertheless, following Richard Osterlind and others, I make no explicit claims of any kind of extraordinary powers. Let the people decide; they will anyway.

George Hunter
"Mentalist Subordinaire"


I take media studies (Middlesex University in Dubai) and I used a mentalism routine to demonstrate influence through words in one of my advertising presentations. I agree with you that the word psychology would not do the approach justice. I attribute my effects to a keen interest in Social interaction.

I also find the replies by other performers very fascinating, I will actually try to do an effect without explicitly attributing it to pseudo-science or paranormal phenomenon and see what people think. I will also respond here sharing my results.
Scott Soloff
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On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:

But, most of all, regardless of what they believe or don't believe, I want everyone to be entertained and mystified. (And maybe even argue among themselves about what they just saw.)


That's the bottom line, isn't it?

Derren has the strongest disclaimer one can have and people still don't know what to make of him. But can you doubt his ability to entertain.

Bob claims to read minds, and he does. And, more importantly, he is highly entertaining.

Personally, I don't care for the pseudo-psycho-NLP-body language approach. How could anyone pick up a name or a thought from watching eyes flutter or body language. Ridiculous.

But, in the end, who cares. If you can engage your audience and they enjoy the performance, it really doesn't matter.

Best wishes,


Scott
p.s. I'm spending entirely too much time here. Have to finish writing a chapter. Later!
'Curiouser and curiouser."
IbiMania
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On Jul 24, 2014, Scott Soloff wrote:

Derren has the strongest disclaimer one can have and people still don't know what to make of him. But can you doubt his ability to entertain.



But it is clear that he is taking the pseudo-science approach to his effects and thus he dresses, presents and writes his patter accordingly.

I understand the "Let them think what they want" idea but your patter does need to come from seudo-science or paranormal approach even if you do not make explicit claims.

For example closing your eyes and putting two fingers on your temple and attempting to concentrate does show that your approach is paranormal to an extent whereas looking intently at their handwritten list to find the one word they are thinking of does have a pseudo-science approach to it.

I am not asking which is better than the other, I am just asking which presentation do you take?

And why?
Because you are comfortable with it? OR Because it suits your personality? and so on.

I am not looking for a conclusive answer to which approach is better, I am just looking for your opinions in order to broaden my own horizons.
mastermindreader
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I don't really take either approach. I simply say that I'm a mind reader. (That can be interpreted either as a psychological OR psychic claim.) I'm simply able to tell people what they are thinking when they project their thoughts in a certain way.
IbiMania
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Bob, The me from 7 years ago would consider you a paranormal mind-reader. I believe your style hints more towards psychic than psychological but that's just how I would see it. It is pretty Badass to say "I am a mind reader" and then go ahead and read minds. Solid.
Ben Blau
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I'm going to go against the grain here, and say that I think the psychological approach is inherently more believable to intelligent audiences. But, I'm not trying to imply that one is inherently more entertaining than the other. That comes down to the performer.
DrTodd
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I go for the philosophical approach Smile
mastermindreader
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On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
I'm going to go against the grain here, and say that I think the psychological approach is inherently more believable to intelligent audiences. But, I'm not trying to imply that one is inherently more entertaining than the other. That comes down to the performer.


I disagree.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/16915/three-f......mal.aspx

And there are many HIGHLY intelligent people who believe in the possibility of extrasensory communication.
IbiMania
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On Jul 24, 2014, DrTodd wrote:
I go for the philosophical approach Smile


Interesting, is it because you are comfortable with it? Or it makes you stand out? Or suits your personality?
IbiMania
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On the issue of believability (?) I would say that if one is performing for friends/family they are more likely to digest that it is psychological. However, in professional settings both premises seem to be equally believable/unbelievable. I would personally pick one that I am really comfortable with and enjoy doing.
Scott Soloff
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On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
I'm going to go against the grain here, and say that I think the psychological approach is inherently more believable to intelligent audiences. But, I'm not trying to imply that one is inherently more entertaining than the other. That comes down to the performer.


Have to disagree, also. What would lead you to believe that there is a nexus between intelligence and belief?

The examples which illustrate the absurdity of beliefs; including those of intelligent, highly educated, professional people is too numerous to list.

Insert list here:___________________________

BTW, personally I prefer the genuinely reading minds bit. I am comfortable with this and it suits my personality.

Best wishes,


Scott
'Curiouser and curiouser."
roblane
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On Jul 24, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
On the issue of believability (?) I would say that if one is performing for friends/family they are more likely to digest that it is psychological. However, in professional settings both premises seem to be equally believable/unbelievable. I would personally pick one that I am really comfortable with and enjoy doing.


As a hobbyist I have to agree with that statement. Personally I've found on numerous occasion that a friend has assumed that I'm using body language/tells because that's how I've presented something else before. I see that as a compliment..
Definition of a Freudian slip; Saying one thing and meaning a "mother"!
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