An Overview of Cold Reading Strategies, by Roe and Roxburgh (2013)

Title: An Overview of Cold Reading Strategies

Introduction: “The standard mainstream explanation for impressive mediumistic communications is in terms of deceptive practices called cold reading. For example, in commenting on Gary Schwartz’s book The Afterlife Experiments, which describes a number of experiments with mediums that are claimed to have produced evidence of postmortem communication, Hyman comments that “the readings he presents [ …] for his case very much resemble the sorts of readings we would expect from psychic readers in general and cold readers in particular.” Wiseman and O’Keeffe similarly criticize findings reported by Schwartz, Russek, Nelson, and Barentsen on the grounds that “seemingly accurate readings can be created by a set of psychological stratagems collectively referred to as ‘cold reading.’ ” […] In practice, the techniques identified as examples of cold reading can vary in form from case to case, from a simple reliance on using statements that are true of most people through to a broader definition that includes presession information-gathering about a client. Techniques such as “fishing” (to be described later) are regarded as central to some accounts but as separate, supplementary methods by others. There is a real danger that such over-liberal and inconsistent application of the term “cold reading” will cause it to lose any explanatory power it has…”

Author(s): Chris A. Roe ; Elizabeth Roxburgh

Journal: The Spiritualist Movement

Date: 2013

Pages: 27

Keywords: extra sensory perception (ESP) ; mediumship ; psi ; psychology ; parapsychology ; cold reading ; scepticism ; life after death

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