There have been many sensational news stories of law enforcement using the skills of mentalists – specifically the skill of cold reading to solve crimes. Cold reading is the ability to gather a great deal of information about someone by analysing their body language, speech, mannerisms, etc. A keen power of observation is required for one to be a successful cold reader and many important details can be gleaned such as dishonesty and deceit.
There have been numerous television series that have spotlighted the crime fighting abilities of mentalists, namely the hugely popular U.S. television shows, The Mentalist, and Psych. In The Mentalist, a crime drama, the main character, Patrick (played by the wonderful Simon Baker), is a consultant to the police and uses his remarkable observational skills and knowledge of the human psyche to help solve cases. He has a background as a performing psychic whose real skills are interpreting human behavior. On the flip side, there is the comedy-drama, Psych (lead character Shawn) which focuses on a psychic detective who is not technically “psychic,” but possesses exceptional observational and memory skills. He uses his abilities to help law enforcement solve tricky or unusual crimes. The common thread in both dramas is the extraordinary ability to read what is hidden.
Can you be a cold reader? It’s possible! First, select the person you want to cold read – learn as much in advance as possible. Preparation is key. Secondly, make statements that will elicit reactions that will either confirm or deny your suspicions. Pay attention to visual clues – manner of dress, body language, etc, and build upon that information in order to delve deeper in the psyche and provide an accurate analysis.
What do you think? Is cold reading useful in fighting crime?