Tremor of Intent

That title is the name of an obscure novel by Anthony Burgess but it seems to fit what is going on in this Derren Brown video.

If you jump forward to about 1:20 you come to a segment where he plays a guessing game with a group of people on the streets of Edinborough. He asks the subject to think about doing a movement but without ever moving. Then he accurately guesses what the movement is.

Apparently, this is something anyone can do, it's not the result of some special skill he's honed over years, because he teaches the whole group to be able to do it in less than a minute.

He doesn't let us hear what the technique is, but there are hints that it's a matter of going with your gut reaction to whatever little tremor of intent you notice. The only alternative I can imagine is that he is always planting the suggestion of the movement, but I don't see when and where he would be doing that.

He does this same routine with different crowds in two other videos and I find it intriguing to think that if we just pay attention in the right way we can pick up on things that are going through other people's minds better than we think we can. On the other hand, that might not be what's going on here at all.

How do you think this is done?

For more perspective, he does a similar trick in this segment: (scroll forward to 1:20)

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 This reminds me of the horse that could count. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans

 Quote by flatmaster This reminds me of the horse that could count. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans
 Using a substantial number of trials, Pfungst found that the horse could get the correct answer even if von Osten himself did not ask the questions, ruling out the possibility of fraud. However, the horse got the right answer only when the questioner knew what the answer was, and the horse could see the questioner. He observed that when von Osten knew the answers to the questions, Hans got 89 percent of the answers correct, but when von Osten did not know the answers to the questions, Hans only answered six percent of the questions correctly. Pfungst then proceeded to examine the behaviour of the questioner in detail, and showed that as the horse's taps approached the right answer, the questioner's posture and facial expression changed in ways that were consistent with an increase in tension, which was released when the horse made the final, correct tap. This provided a cue that the horse could use to tell it to stop tapping.
It's remarkable to me that a horse could read human body language, even that of total strangers, so well.

Regardless, Derren Brown is tricky and often implies he's doing a trick one way when he's actually doing it another. He might be reading their intent, but he's also a master at feeding ideas to people just below their awareness of it.

Tremor of Intent

Also, don't forget that these are recordings - how many did they shoot where he got it completely wrong?
Are you only seeing the ones the ones they want you to see?
Remember - magicians and illusionists employ deception!
 Also, don't forget that these are recordings - how many did they shoot where he got it completely wrong? Are you only seeing the ones the ones they want you to see? Remember - magicians and illusionists employ deception!

 Quote by Last_Exile Also, don't forget that these are recordings - how many did they shoot where he got it completely wrong? Are you only seeing the ones the ones they want you to see? Remember - magicians and illusionists employ deception!
Derren Brown's tricks sometimes rely on finding a properly gullible person on the street. He would be the first to admit he discards footage where the subject turns out to be more savvy than he thought. This trick here, though, is obviously not dependent on something that crude. There's some sort of psychological principle behind it, something like this, I suspect:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Othe..._20546296.html
 And that is exactly what he wants you to believe.

 Quote by Last_Exile And that is exactly what he wants you to believe.
Hehe. I doubt he kept filming group after group till 3/4 of the group all hit on the same movement.
 OK, I admit there may well be a valid psychological "method" involved but the point I'm trying to make is that the likes of Derren Brown and other self-proclaimed mentalists are hardly the best examples since you cannot completely rule out deception.
 OK, I admit there may well be a valid psychological "method" involved but the point I'm trying to make is that the likes of Derren Brown and other self-proclaimed mentalists are hardly the best examples since you cannot completely rule out deception.
 People often twitch slightly when preparing to move. He's probably just noticing the slight twitches.

 Quote by Same-same People often twitch slightly when preparing to move. He's probably just noticing the slight twitches.
What's the difference between the twitch before putting your hands on your head and before doing the chicken dance?

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