Can you read other people’s minds and is it possible to read their minds using mentalism?
How to learn the art of mind reading in mentalism is one of the most asked questions by those looking to learn to become a mentalist.
How to learn the art of mind reading in mentalism is first about understanding that mind reading in the true sense of actually reading minds is not possible. But it is very possible to create the illusion of mind reading. This is achieved through techniques you can learn. These include reading body language and nonverbal communication. Also, you can learn the art of embedded suggestion using the power of NLP. Using NLP to plant ideas means that you know what the person is thinking because you planted the idea in the first place. Plus other techniques explained below in this article.
Is it possible to read people's minds?
Mind reading and mentalism tend to go hand-in-hand. But can mentalists genuinely read peoples minds?
Some would have you think that it's possible to read minds. Some even use similar techniques to those used by mentalists to cheat people into thinking they have a sixth sense, when they don't.
To be clear, no one can actually read minds. This includes mentalists, psychics, clairvoyants, mediums and any other group that purports to do so. Most mentalists don't purport to be able to read minds, but instead explain that what they do is to create the illusion of mind reading.
However, psychics and the like fool people into thinking they have some sort of super natural power, when in fact they don't. Psychics and mediums tend to prey on vulnerable people. People who are perhaps missing a loved one. They use their victim's vulnerability against them and make them think they've spoken to a loved one who's passed on when they can't do such a thing.
So if it's not possible to read minds, how to mentalists (or psychics and mediums) make it look like they can?
How to learn the art of mind reading in mentalism
The art of mind reading takes a number of forms in mentalism. All of these forms are some type of trickery. They aren't actually reading minds, but instead they've either 'read' the person by way of body language, planted the thought in the mind through embedded suggestion or used some other technique to create an illusion.
So let's take a look at these various forms of 'mind reading' techniques...
Reading body language or 'listening' to nonverbal communication
A person's thoughts become their feelings. That persons feelings in turn form their behaviours. These behaviours are exhibited in the form of verbal and nonverbal language.
The verbal language and some of the nonverbal communication is very apparent to us all.
For example, verbal communication in the form of speech is what we all understand. But even with this form of communication there are hidden meanings within the words said or how they are said. Most of us can recognise when someone is angry when they speak, as they tend to use certain words and their speech becomes more elivated.
Also, people will say certain words or phrases that can provide an underlying meaning to what they are actually saying. This is one of the areas of human communication that you need to learn to read.
What a person is thinking will in many cases be communicated through their body language too. For example, going back to the angry person, they will likely be more animated when in a state of anger. If someone is upset in some way, most can usually read an upset person's face. Another give away is watery eyes or crying, which are both behaviours that reflect a person's feelings.
What about the subtle body language signals?
There are also more subtle nonverbal communications you can learn to understand. Some are better at this than others. Some are definitely more turned in to body language. What often happens is people who are brought up in a less than stable family up-bringing (let's say they had an abusive father), they tend to be better at reading body language than the average person.
They learnt how to read body language because it helped to protect them. They would be better at reading the situation. They could see when their father was in a state that may be dangerous for them as a child. Children in this situation learn to read the body language early so they can remove themselves from danger.
This early learning of body language can in many cases become a very useful tool later in life. Every cloud has a silver lining.
What about where verbal communication is in opposition to nonverbal communication?
Many times body movements can be in opposition to the spoken word. The mixed messages can give away some truths too.
To become a good 'mind reader' you need to become sensitive to these mixed messages. There's a lot you can pickup about a person when you pay attention to what they are telling you subconsciously.
Understanding all that a person is saying to you both verbally, non verbally and when these are perhaps in contrast to each other, will give you big clues as to what's going on in their mind. You are in effect reading their mind, but not by using telepathy, but by reading how they are 'reflecting' their thoughts through their behaviour and how they communicate.
Plant the thought first so you know what they are thinking
The other technique or skill to use is suggestion. Many mentalists use the embedded suggestion technique using NLP.
How this works is the mentalist plants the idea in their mind, which is what they want their subject to think in the first place. So when the mentalist knows what the person is thinking (bearing in mind the thought was planted), it appears the mentalist read the subjects mind.
This is an extremely powerful tool in mentalism. It's one that relies on a form of hypnosis. This article demonstrates how well this method works: 'How to plant ideas in someone’s mind and make them think it was their idea using the NLP embedded suggestion technique.'
Other ways in which mentalists read minds
In addition to reading body language and planting ideas into the heads of their subjects, mentalists also use the power of the Barnum Effect too. Instead of explaining in detail about the Barnum Effect and Barnum Statements, please take a look at this article on the subject here: 'The Barnum effect and how you can use Barnum statements to create the effect of supernatural powers.'
Reading someones mind through their eyes
Another technique or skill to master the art or reading minds is to read people's eyes.
A person's eyes give a lot away about what they are thinking. Where they place their eyes will even give away if they are lying or not. How to read minds through eyes is a skill, but it's also about paying attention too.
In the video below Samuel Jackson explains reading minds through eyes:
To learn how to read eyes there are a few rules to understand, as follows:
Eyes to the Left - remembered images
If a persons eyes move to the left means they are accessing their memory or the visual cortex. If a person is asked a question and moves their eyes to the left, they will be telling the truth.
These are more specific eye movements to the left:
- Eyes up and to the left - Visualising remembered images.
- Eyes directly to the left - Auditory memories remembering sounds.
- Eyes down and to the left - Kinesthetic where the person is having an internal dialogue.
Eyes to the Right - constructed image
When the eyes move to the right, the person is accessing the creative side of the brain. A person could simply be being in a creative state. But if a person is asked a question and their eyes go to the right, they are likely to be lying to you.
These are more specific eye movements to the right:
- Eyes up and to the right - Visualising and constructing or imagining - can signify visually lying (as demonstrated in the above video).
- Eyes directly to the right - Auditory, where the person is constructing sounds - for example, does it sound right?
- Eyes down and to the right - Kinesthetic where the person is checking into their feelings.
The above way to read people through eye reading is not always fool proof, but it will give a good indication as to what a person is thinking. If you use eye reading along with the other methods, like reading body language too, you are better placed to read a person. Or to effectively read their mind.
All of the techniques explained in this article work well. Mentalism is all about creating illusions. But for you to perform these techniques well, you need to learn the skills first. Then you need to practice, practice and practice more.
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I hope you enjoyed this article about how to learn the art of mind reading
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 to learn the art of mind reading), 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 into learning how to become a mentalist!