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How to read minds

Post-GSA's spending scandal, the last thing one would expect is a mind reader as entertainment at an event attended by feds. But that’s exactly what happened at the Management of Change conference June 5 when Robert Priest, a self-proclaimed mind reader and former Army PSYOPS trained practitioner, gave a presentation on how to hack a mind.

“I don’t do anything with the spirits or the occult, I’m not the son of a gypsy witch and I haven’t been struck by lightning,” Priest told the audience as ways of introducing himself.

Using his background in psychology and something called “mind scripting,” Priest put on a show that rivaled any other illusionist’s. But the secret to his seeming clairvoyance was a background in neurolinguistic programming and use of psychological principles. Priest made no secret about that his craft was something everyone could learn if they invested the time, adding jokingly it took him 20 years in the Army to develop his skills.

But for those uninitiated, it seemed almost like magic.

To kick off his show, Priest used Zener cards, the well-known psychic test developed in the 1930s. Each of those cards display different sign: a circle, a plus sign, a square and a star. He asked the audience members to think about one of those signs, “whatever you feel drawn to,” he said. (Yours truly chose the star.)

When he asked how many picked the square, only a few of the audience members raised their hands. “Maybe 2 percent,” Priest estimated.

“I find that those who pick the square are intelligent and decisive,” he said, flipping over the card with the square to show that the back of it said “intelligent and decisive” in capital letters.

Next, he asked how many picked the plus sign and only a few audience members indicated they had done so. “About 6 percent,” Priest said.

“The plus-sign people tend to be creative and ambitious,” he said, showing that the back of the card stated the two adjectives.

As he moved onto the next sign, an equally small percentage of audience members revealed they had picked the circle. People who choose that sign tend to be flexible, Priest said.

With the last card in hand, it became obvious that most audience members had picked the star. And it also became obvious that Priest had known they would. Printed on the back of the card, the purported personality traits of people who gravitate toward the star, was: “Drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll!”

 

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Jun 06, 2012 at 12:11 PM


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