What is Cold Reading?

Cold Reading

Cold Reading is a technique used by stage performers (mentalists), psychics, and mediums, to give the impression that they “know” things about the subject that they could not possibly know.

In a cold reading, the reader will apply high-probability guesses in an attempt to find truths that resonate with the subject. Any guesses that hit the target are reinforced, and developed further, whilst any that are in the wrong direction are instantly discarded.

This maximising of the correct guesses, and instant dropping of the wrong ones, creates an impression in the subject’s mind that the reader is right more often then they are wrong.

The reader is usually aided in this by the subject’s own desire for the reading to work.

Anybody who goes to see a medium, or a psychic, clairvoyant, or even a stage performance, actually wants it to work.

If they didn’t want it to work, why would they go in the first place?

The subject is then, subconsciously predisposed to believing the reading. They will actually collaborate by discarding the ‘wrong’ parts themselves and concentrating on the ‘right’ parts, just like the reader does.


The subject’s desire for a successful outcome leads them to build on chance connections and coincidences, and to ignore mismatches, in order to get the result they were hoping for. Continue reading “What is Cold Reading?”

12 Classic cold reading lines

Classic cold reading uses 12 statements (Barnum statements), that are true for virtually everybody.

The 12 classic lines have been around for a long time now, and may appear a little out-dated or corny today. And of course, there is a good chance that they may sound familiar which may ruin the effect!

However, they serve as a useful example of the principles of cold reading, and could be rewritten to create a more modern (and previously unheard) version. Continue reading “12 Classic cold reading lines”