Is mind-reading actually possible? How can we interpret body language to better understand what others are really thinking? In this week’s episode, Alice and Melissa are exploring these questions and more with the help of Swedish mentalist Henrik Fexeus (aka “Sweden’s Derren Brown”). Henrik is the author of the international bestseller, The Art of Reading Minds: How to Understand and Influence Others Without Them Noticing, and in this episode he explains what mind-reading really is, and how we can use it to our advantage.
After their conversation with Henrik, hear Alice and Melissa try out a mind-reading trick on Lifehacker staff writer Nick Douglas and senior video editor Joel Kahn.
Highlights from this week’s episode
From the Henrik Fexeus interview:
On defining what mind-reading really is:
Mind-reading, in my definition, is to be able to understand what goes on in someone’s head by observing their nonverbal communication, because all your emotions and your feelings and your important thoughts will be displayed by minute signals in your facial muscles and how you move and how you speak. So just by taking note of that, you can quite accurately know what goes on inside someone else’s head. You won’t be able to know what colour they’re thinking of, that I can do on stage as an illusionist. But you will have a much more practical information.
On how we flirt unconsciously:
So flirting is really just giving someone a bit more attention to acknowledge someone else. It doesn’t have to be, you know, loaded with meaning or even be sexual, for that matter. And in that way, we flirt all the time, because that is one of the things that makes it so much fun to be human beings. And one time we specifically, of course, do this is when we actually are attracted to someone. But what’s funny is that we can get attracted to someone even on an unconscious or subconscious level, that we don’t really even know that we are attracted to this person yet. And one of the things we do is this stuff that we talked about earlier about mirroring. We adapt our body language and nonverbal behaviour to that person to show them that I am a bit like you are. So you don’t have to be afraid of me. And here’s a fun thing: if you take control of the behaviour that is usually subconscious, you could use that for fantastic results.
To learn more of Henrik’s mind-reading tips and tricks, and to hear Alice and Melissa’s own attempts at the skill, check out the podcast.