Birthdays/biases/logic

Allison Marles apm at alumni.uwaterloo.ca
Fri Jan 7 17:13:22 EST 2005


On Tue, Dec 21, 2004 at 09:54:22AM +0200, Gili Bar-Hillel wrote:
> it's a dangerous game to play. I was having a conversation with a friend
> about psychics - a friend who ought to have known what a sceptic I am, and
> how strongly I disbelieve in psychics - and I jokingly said that I was
> psychic myself, and that I could tell what was going on in his mind by
> staring deep into his eyes. I proceeded to glean out of him the information
> that his mother had called that morning to tell him that his grandmother,
> whom he had never known intimately but wished he had, was now seriously ill.
> I believed I was being incredibly obvious about how I was getting this
> information out of him, and I thought it was clear that my behaviour was
> meant to be a parody of a psychic. My friend, however, was shocked and
> disturbed, and had trouble believing that I was merely being perceptive, not
> supernatural. I will never again run such a demonstration so lightly.

I really wish more people were informed about "cold-reading" so that
they would know how it works and not be fooled by this most obvious
tactic.  I still don't understand how people can sit there ignoring
misses, remembering hits, and pouring out the details that the "psychic"
encourages and still believe something amazing is going on.   THe only 
amazing thing is that they pay for it and believe it!

Allison
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