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Tremor of Intent

  1. Jul 30, 2012 #1
    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)

    [Youtube]rE99Ggn0HG0[/youtube]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2012 #2
  4. Aug 17, 2012 #3
    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.
     
  5. Aug 17, 2012 #4
    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!
     
  6. Aug 17, 2012 #5
    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!
     
  7. Aug 17, 2012 #6
    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/Other/Puzzles_Riddles/Q_20546296.html
     
  8. Aug 18, 2012 #7
    And that is exactly what he wants you to believe.
     
  9. Aug 18, 2012 #8
    Hehe. I doubt he kept filming group after group till 3/4 of the group all hit on the same movement.
     
  10. Aug 18, 2012 #9
    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.
     
  11. Aug 18, 2012 #10
    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.
     
  12. Aug 19, 2012 #11
    People often twitch slightly when preparing to move. He's probably just noticing the slight twitches.
     
  13. Aug 20, 2012 #12
    What's the difference between the twitch before putting your hands on your head and before doing the chicken dance?
     
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