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The psychology of lying

I love how magic has evolved over the years. I especially love where it is now and some of the really advanced and developed mentalism acts. Like anything if you want to survive the test of time you must also evolve. Anyone aspiring to perform mental magic (mentalism) such as derren Brown should take all the skills and resources available to them to craft their art. If you don’t know where to start and really want to perform mentalism magic like the aforementioned Derren Brown then i suggest that you look at our review of mentalism books where we hotlist the top 11 books in mentalism and which ones are essential. You should also check out the master mentalism course that you can see the advert for as they have some tremendous free tutorials and amazing discounts on their main courses.

Anyway i feel that we are getting dramatically off topic here. This is suppose to be about the psychology of lying. They say a picture says a thousand words so i will let you digest this info-graphic about lying and then pick up afterwards.


If you want to see the origonal post then look at the link above.

Okay now we have had a quick look at the infographic, hopefully you have had time to digest some of the information within it but you might be wondering what it has to do with learning mentalism? or how it will help you to be a mentalist. Well as i said at the start of the article great magic and mentalism acts will evolve with the times. That being said one of the most timeless acts you can perform is mind reading. Everyone loves a well crafted mind reading trick. However there are elements that have evolved with the public’s understanding of what is possible by humans.

No longer do many people actually believe in “real magic” but they believe in psychology and the power of persuasion. So when performing a mind reading trick if you can convince the audience that you are getting information from body language or can tell exactly when someone is lying you can use this in your act to great effect.

To know if your participant is lying or not it greatly helps if you understand the psychological processes that happen when someone tells a lie. The first thing you must understand is that everybody lies even those whom pride themselves on not ever telling a lie. Yes even these people lie on a daily basis to some degree.

As the diagram shows when someone lies there are far more cognitive processes taking part. Depending on the individual they will feel varying degrees of anxiety from the deception and this will stem from the limibic system which is one of the most primal parts of the brain. Your subconscious part of the brain knows the truth and knows that you are lying and therefor creates the anxiety which in turn can create tells. The more you repeat a lie the more your subconscious will believe it. This is the same principle that athletes use to convince themselves that they are the best. They frequently tell themselves and others that they are the best at what they do and eventually they actually start to believe it and it truly does affect their performance. Self belief is everything. tell yourself daily that you are the best mentalist walking on planet earth and you will start to improve. At first you will think you are being stupid and it’s ridiculous but eventually your subconscious will believe it and you will start to perform with more confidence just because of that.

Some of peoples responses from the anxiety and thinking of the lie can be reflected in eye movement. Be careful not to deny the antecedent in this logical expression. A lie may be indicated by someone looking to the top left. This does not mean that someone who looks to the top left is always lying though. Context is important.


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