(and how can I tell if a psychic is cold reading)

This is an important question to ask for anyone thinking about speaking to a psychic, medium, or “fortune teller” type of reader. And while many folks in our community prefer we don’t talk about things like cold reading as often as we do, it’s important for those who aren’t familiar with term, to know what to look for.

Cold reading is a set of techniques used by mentalists, psychics, fortune-tellers, and others to give the illusion of having psychic gifts, paranormal talents, or other intuitive abilities when in fact they are using psychological tricks and observation.

Cold readers generally try to gather information from their subject using simple observation and asking leading question. They’ll then using that information to create the illusion of accurate predictions or information.

It’s important to note that many psychics will “cold read” in a very accidental way – or without malice or deception being the reason. It’s quite human to pick up cues from another person in your immediate orbit,and natural to make assumptions, even unconciously about the person they are working with. Remember, the brain is a pattern recognition machine, and we do this naturally, even without bad intentions.

The more common negative connotation around cold reading typically involves using vague or general statements that can be applied to many people, as well as paying close attention to the subject’s body language, tone of voice, and other cues to gather information that can then be used to make educated guesses about their thoughts, feelings, or personal information.

This information is then woven into the performance, making it appear as though the psychic has a direct line to the subject’s innermost thoughts and emotions.

Cold reading is not to be confused with “hot reading,” which involves obtaining information about the subject before the reading through research or other means.

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