I have seen a TV program talking about an interesting 'mind control' magic/experiment. I cannot find this video clip online so I have to describe what I saw in words.

The video (some sort of documentary?) begins with two persons walking on the street. One person is the host and another is the subject of this experiment.

Both person walking down the street and do some casual talking. While they walk, the host introduces the area and so on, points to some interesting scenes around (for example graffiti and people on the street etc...). Also, an one instance, there was a boy skating and the boy almost hit the subject. Anyway, everything looks perfectly normal and natural.

Then, they reached an art gallery. They walk into the gallery and then in a room, there is a covered painting there. The host asked the subject to tell, what would be on the paint.

The subject mentioned a couple of things, some thing like the color of the paint, the object on the paint etc, etc... Guess what? As you certainly can predict, when the host reveal the paint, it looks exactly like the one described by the subject.

The host then explain to the subject that everything and everybody he had seen during this experiment are controlled and are carefully selected. For example the boy skating, the people on the street, the graffiti etc. The host then suggested that its what he (the subject) saw lead him to think (about the paint) the way the host would like him to think.

So, my question here is that assume this video is not just a fake camera trick, then what psychology theory is behind it? Could anybody offer some links to academic papers in this area?

  • $\begingroup$ Without the video and some background information on the credibility I vote to close this question as opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Sep 18 '15 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Cognitive Sciences by the way :) this site is a scientific Q&A forum, and to elaborate on my close vote, I wish to say that anecdotal questions are difficult to answer and often yield opinion-based answers. Please visit the help center on how to ask a question. cogsci.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask $\endgroup$ – AliceD Sep 18 '15 at 5:27
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know that particular clip, but Derren Brown does that sort of thing all the time. Here is an example featuring actor Simon Pegg: youtube.com/watch?v=jTwCMX5sUQU. The same trick was featured in the movie "Focus" (advised by Apollo Robbins), and other mentalists use it routinely. Derren Brown uses a variety of techniques including suggestion, classical conditioning, the misinformation effect, and misdirection; maybe too much to cover in a single answer. He usually explains some of the tricks in his videos, so watch the endings. $\endgroup$ – Arnon Weinberg Sep 18 '15 at 6:36
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    $\begingroup$ There are no mind control techniques that work that well. The psychology lies in the art of misdirection. Don't be fooled by his explanation in the ending. It's part of the trick. He says: "I am often dishonest in my techniques, but always honest about my dishonesty. As I say in each show, 'I mix magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship'. I happily admit cheating, as it's all part of the game. I hope some of the fun for the viewer comes from not knowing what's real and what isn't. I am an entertainer first and foremost". See here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derren_Brown $\endgroup$ – user7759 Sep 18 '15 at 10:25
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    $\begingroup$ @MaríaAnt, Your opening statement is both absolutist and unclear. "no mind control techniques" assumes a universal meaning of what a MCT [for brevity] is. I doubt this is the case. By "that work well", do you mean "that work very [or substantially] well", or do you mean "that work as well as that example"? I gladly submit this can of worms for y'all to feast upon! $\endgroup$ – CRGreen Sep 26 '15 at 2:09

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