How does a mentalist read minds and can you read other people’s minds?
Mentalists make a very good job of creating the illusion that they can read people’s minds, but in most cases the mind reading is pure trickery.
Mentalists don't actually read minds, but instead create illusions so it appears that they've read a person's mind. However, through learning how to read body language and subconscious communication, it's possible to read a persons thoughts. This is not actual mind reading in the true sense of telepathy. But unconscious behaviours can be read by developing this skill to uncover a person's thoughts.
How does a mentalist read minds?
Whilst it may look like a mentalist reads the minds of people, this is only an illusion. Well most of the time anyway, but see below.
Mentalists use various techniques to create the illusion that they are reading people's minds, which includes both trickery and suggestion.
The difference between these two mentalism techniques is that trickery relies upon deception. Whereas when a mentalist uses suggestion they are influencing a persons 'outputs' by suggesting an 'input.'
What I mean by outputs is a person's response, be this verbally or otherwise. When I talk about 'inputs' I'm talking about the use of suggestions to the subconscious of the person. These suggestions can be in the form of verbal, visual or through the use of objects.
Examples of how a mentalist appears to read minds
A typical example of where a mentalist appears to read a persons mind is by using the Swami Gimmick.
The mentalist may ask a person to think of a place. The mentalist will ask the person to focus on that place and to say it over and over again in their mind. Whilst this is happening, they will 'fake write' this place on a card using a pencil, but will not actually write anything.
The pencil is given to the person, but the card, which the person assumes the place is written on, is kept by the mentalist.
The mentalist puts this card behind their back. It's at this point the mentalist asks the person to reveal the place they were thinking about.
Then with the use of a small piece of plastic attached to their finger, which has a small pencil led in it, they quickly write the name of the place on the card.
The card is then presented to the person and they are convinced the mentalist read their mind.
There are many other types of mentalist trickery like this, which are used to create the illusion of mind reading.
Can you read other people's minds and can this be done by mentalists?
The technique that mentalists use to read people's minds is not actually mind reading in the true sense of telepathy, or in terms of how most understand the meaning of telepathy.
Telepathy is normally understood to mean that a person is delving into the other persons actual thoughts. Where they are actually 'listening' to their thoughts. However, as far as we know this isn't actually possible at present.
But when you look at the meaning of telepathy, and break the word down in to its origins, then looking at how mentalists read peoples minds, this could be classed as using telepathy.
The meaning of telepathy
If you split the word telepathy into 'tele,' which means distant. Plus the second part 'pathy,' which means feeling, perception or experience. When you then look at what mentalists do to read people, i.e. they read body language, then this is a form of telepathy.
Body language is read at a distance and is read using feelings, perception and experience. However, the true meaning of telepathy is the transmission of information from one person to another using sensory channels which are yet unknown to man. Telepathy is actually ESP or extra sensory perception.
However, body language is a know form of communication.
How does a mentalist read minds using body language?
It is possible to read a person. When I say read a person, I mean read the signals that are being given off by that person in terms on body language. A persons thoughts, feelings and emotions are transmitted through their body language.
What we think and feel will reflect in how we stand and present ourselves, but also in reverse, how we stand and hold our bodies will also affect how we feel too.
Something like 80% of communication between two people is done through the use of body language. Most of the time this reading of a person's body and the signals they emit is done subconsciously.
What we are talking about here is subconscious communication. Subconscious communication is the underlying language that is made between two people. It's the unspoken words.
Have you ever had the feeling about someone, which might be a feeling where the the words that someone is saying don't seem to ring true. You seem to have a sixth sense. What is generally happening in this situation is an incongruity between the persons spoken word and their non-verbal communication.
You are picking up on the non-verbal communication, but because you are not trained to understand this, you are not always sure how to read it. However, your body knows what is being said. There's a lot to be said about your gut feeling. If you gut is telling you something, particularly if something is wrong, listen to it.
What is most likely in this situation, where you are feeling uncomfortable with what someone is saying, is they are lying to you about something.
How a mentalist tunes in to read a person's mind
Most people could learn this technique to read peoples minds. The reason for this is because as already explained it is something we already do.
There are some obvious ways in which this can be explained. We all know when someone is happy, as they smile. Or when someone is angry, as they tend to furrow their brow and become more animated. Or if a person is sad or depressed they tend to drop their heads and shoulders.
However, to be good at mind reading like a mentalist does, you need to be able to be extra sensitive to body language signals. Most language signals are very subtle, which might include the slightest of a face twitch, a hand gesture, body posture or even eye movements.
What does it take to become a mentalist mind reader
Learning to read people and to become a mentalist mind reader you must first be patient. Like any new skill you learn it will take time to learn how to understand body language.
You also need to be able to practice and be wiling to fail. You will need to tap into your intuition and listen to your gut and heart. As a beginner to mentalism and mid reading, the more you practice and begin to get your perceptions right, the more body language reading will become natural to you.
To begin with you will need to be very focused and remove any distractions. Distractions like radios, televisions or other people in the room. Practice on a one-to-one basis with as many people as you can. Experiment with people, by asking them to think of various things and see what you pickup. You are looking for changes in their body language.
You may benefit from meditation, as mediation is proven to help with restoring the mind.
Where to begin with mind reading or understanding body language
As already mentioned, using meditation can really help. This will help set you up to be open. You really need to clear your mind before you begin to pickup on a person's body language. You need to get rid of 'noise.'
Another great exercise for preparing yourself for this mentalism technique is to practice yoga.
Step one to mentalism mind reading - Learn to become sensitive to unconscious behaviour
Your first step as a beginner to mind reading, or to understand what is actually happening and to becoming sensitive to unconscious behaviour, is to find subjects.
One of the best types of subject you'll find is someone who loves the sound of their own voice. Someone who is happy to spend hours talking to you.
With a person like this, you are given the opportunity to stay quiet. You can then use this time to focus and pay attention to everything. Pay attention to what they are saying, but it's not necessarily about what they say, but more about how they say it.
Step two to mentalism mind reading - Remove any preconceived prejudices
We all have the ability and prejudge a person by the way they talk, dress and carry themselves.
These prejudices or preconceptions can also be affected by a person's colour or ethnicity too, which is not about racism. Don't also make rash judgments about their personality, as many times a person's personality can be different in different circumstances.
Therefore, make sure you disregard any preconceptions about the person before you begin. Otherwise any preconceptions you have, will lead to your looking for body language cues to support your preconception.
To truly read a persons unconscious behaviours and communication you need to detach yourself and be objective.
Step three to mentalism mind reading - Identify a persons constant
Before you rush to conclusions about a persons actions or body language, you first need to set the foundation. You need a starting point and a base level to work from.
For example, if you are reading a person who is constantly itching their nose, but you didn't know this beforehand, you may rush to the conclusion that they are being deceptive when they scratch their nose.
In other words, you need to be able to establish how the person behaves normally, so you're able to understand their significant behaviours.
Step four to mentalism mind reading - Understanding the key areas of unconscious communication
There are a number of areas of a person's body where you can pick up communication cues.
Unconscious communication is done via the head and face. However, reading a person's face is not as easy as you may think. Sometimes the movement can be the slightest of a flicker. This minimal movement might only be able to be spotted from a slow motion play-back. Or by someone who is very well trained and practiced in the art of face reading.
Reading a person's face is possible, but it will take time and a person who is extremely observant and with an eye for detail.
The second area to pay attention to is a person's hands. Hand gestures can give away many underlying feelings or thoughts of a person. They need to be watched carefully. People can often give away vital clues about their surroundings, or about their feelings towards people by the movement of their hands.
This is usually without knowing they are doing it. These hand movements are completely subconscious movements.
Other subconscious communication can come from a person's blinking, their shoulders and you can also pickup language or communication from a persons feet and legs too.
Step five to mentalism mind reading - Understanding metaphorical language
A persons metaphorical language can sometimes giveaway their underlying thoughts or feelings.
For example, a person who is talks in terms of images or how they see things is very much a visual person. Whereas a person who 'feels' things is a kinesthetic person, or in other words they are a tactile person.
Step five to mentalism mind reading - Become a good listener
Learn to be a good listener. What we are all guilty of is to not truly listen to a person. We are quite often already thinking about what we want to say. Sometimes not even letting the other person finish what they've said.
Learn to clear your mind and truly listen to what the other person is saying to you. But not only that, listen carefully to what they are not saying too.
Muscle reading was discovered by J. Randall Brown back in the 1800's. What Brown discovered was that he was able to find hidden objects of fellow pupils. He did this by having them touch his forehead and concentrate on its location.
There was controversy, as you'd expect, over what Brown was doing and whether in fact he was reading minds or picking up on tiny muscular movements or cues given off by his subjects.
Either way, he was very sensitive and able to somehow discover hidden objects through some form of communication, not normally experienced by the majority of people.
I hope you enjoyed this article about how does a mentalist read minds…
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your journey to become a performing mentalist or magician (or both). Please comment below. Please also share your experiences, both good and bad.!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about mentalism or magic, I will try to answer them (or specifically about how does a mentalist read minds), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about mentalism for you to read and learn about this fantastic skill.
Have fun and enjoy your journey!