Human Resources, Military, CIA, FBI, Police and just your average person use it, why can't you?..
How do You Use Body Language to Read Minds?
Body language is used every day by human resources professionals, law enforcement officers, teachers, and other people in positions of authority who need to make quick assessments about people they encounter. Those who can read body language know that:
- 55% of communication is nonverbal
- The human body can produce 700,000 different signs
- The fastest way to build a rapport with another person is to mirror their actions
- 7% of communication is nonverbal
'Mentalists' are people who have become experts at reading body language and use it to make appear that they are reading minds. 'The Mentalist', a popular TV series on CBS, is reviving the art of the mentalist.
What is a mentalist?
A mentalist is someone who uses observations of behavior to determine what a person may be thinking or feeling.
What are some physical cues used by mentalists?
Crossed arms, pupil dilation, leaning into someone, crossing the legs and the involuntary touching of the neck can all be used by a mentalist to interpret someone's thoughts.
What are some forms of mentalism?
Fortune tellers, psychics, professional interviewers and police interrogators all use some form of mentalism.
- Cold reading: Takes cues from a person's body language, clothes, speech and ethnicity to make assumptions about a person and convince them that they know what they are thinking
- Hot reading: Requires some previous knowledge of the subject, either first-hand or through an assistant. The subject does not know that the mentalist has such previous knowledge.
- Forer effect: Psychologist Bertram R. Forer developed this technique in 1948. The mentalist makes vague statements that could apply to anyone and leads the subject to think they are tailored specifically to them.
Who are some famous Mentalists?
Some of the most famous mentalists are Erik Jan Hanussen, Grigori Rasputin, Wolf Messing, Count Alessandro di Cagliostro.
Do people notice your body language when you're talking to them?
Most don't notice at all. They may observe it subconsciously and react, though. So, if you know how body language works, you might be able to communicate more effectively.
If my wife crosses her arms when I tell her something, what does it mean?
It may mean that she does not like what you have to say or does not believe you.
If I cross my arms, will people think I don't want to listen to them?
It might. Try and keep an open, relaxed stance and you may seem more approachable.
I have an itchy neck. Will people believe anything I say?
Many of these visual cues are not consciously picked up, so someone might not believe you, but not understand why. Get some ointment!
Will my pupils always dilate if I see someone I find attractive?
Most of the time they will. Be careful when looking at the pool boy around your husband!
Will I seem nervous if I cross my arms, lean forward and scratch my neck?
Yes, you might. Try crossing your legs while leaning back.
Do the police use these techniques?
Frequently. There are experts in law enforcement whose job it is to 'read' people. It can be very effective in determining someone's honesty.
Why did people believe Rasputin?
He was famous for his ability to 'read' people's minds. As this is not possible, he must have been an amazing mentalist.
Can anyone be fooled by mentalists?
Of course. Many so-called fortune tellers use these techniques all the time to read people's reactions and give them a fortune that seems to fit the person.
How can I communicate more effectively?
Try to copy the mannerisms of the person you are speaking with. React the way they do and you might find them more willing to communicate.
If 55% of communication is non-verbal and 7% is verbal, what is the other 38% of communication?
Maybe that part involves bribery; donuts and cookies are a perfect form of communication!
Are these techniques the same ones used in the show 'The Mentalist'?
Some of them. The titular character in the show uses these same visual cues and studies people's mannerisms to figure out what they are thinking.
My horoscope always seems to be right about me. Am I being tricked?
Horoscopes are general and vague in their predictions, so they might fit anyone. Try reading horoscopes for other astrological signs other than yours, and you may find that they fit you as well.
If you think that not talking will stop you from communicating you are dead wrong. There are so many visual cues that give away your thoughts that you may be revealing far more than you think. You may even be picking up on much more of what others are thinking. You may find yourself disliking another person for an unknown reason or you might feel like someone is trustworthy and kind, without their saying a word to you. These can all be due to things that you sense, but may not be conscious of.
Magicians have used mentalism for centuries to fool others. From generalized statements about the future, to reading people's reactions when they 'perform', these showmen (and women) can be very effective in making it seem like they have some hidden knowledge or power.
Mentalists are acutely aware of behavior and body language and observe them to try and determine what you are thinking or feeling. From magicians to detectives, the study of mentalism can be used to produce some amazing results. So next time a 'psychic' seems to know your life story or the FBI agent looks like he doesn't believe you, think about how you are acting. It may surprise you how much you give away!