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5/30/2017 MusclereadingWikipedia

Musclereading
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Musclereading,alsoknownas"Hellstromism","Cumberlandism"or
"contactmindreading",isatechniqueusedbymentaliststodeterminethe
thoughtsorknowledgeofasubject,theeffectofwhichtendstobe
perceivedasaformofmindreading.Theperformercandeterminemany
thingsaboutthementalstateofasubjectbyobservingsubtle,involuntary
responsestospeechoranyotherstimuli.[1][2]Itiscloselyrelatedtothe
ideomotoreffect,wherebysubtlemovementsmadewithoutconscious
awarenessreflectaphysicalmovement,actionordirectionwhichthe
subjectisthinkingabout.Theterm"musclereading"wascoinedinthe
1870sbyAmericanneurologistGeorgeM.Beardtodescribetheactionsof
mentalistJ.RandallBrown,anearlyproponentoftheart.[3][4]

Contents
1 History
2 Technique
3 Seealso
4 References
5 Furtherreading Anexampleofmusclereading.
6 Externallinks

History
Musclereadingisalsoknownbythenamesofthosewhohaveuseditinpopularperformances.Thesuccessofone
earlyperformer,StuartCumberland,ledtothetechnique'salternatenameofCumberlandism.Thefameofthe
mentalistAxelHellstromledtoitwidelybeingcalledHellstromism.PerformerssuchasJ.RandallBrown,Erik
JanHanussen,FranzPolgar,andKreskinhavealsousedmusclereadingsuccessfullyintheiracts.

In1924,magicianCarlHertznotedthat"mindreadingisnothingbutmusclereading.Inallthecaseswherethe
mindreaderissupposedtoleadapersontoahiddenobject,thespectatorisguidedentirelybyaninvoluntary
movementofthesubject'smuscles."[5]ThementalistWashingtonIrvingBishopcoulddriveacarblindfoldedby
musclereadingtechniques.[6]

Kreskin,oneofthemostaccomplishedperformersofmusclereadinginmoderntimes,cantelladriverwheretogo
inacarwhileasubjectholdshiswrist(orviceversa).Inoneofhisbooksherelatesthetechniquetothechildren's
gamewithinwhichahiddenobjectislocatedbyfeedbackof"hot"or"cold".

JuneDowneyhadstudiedthepracticeofmusclereadingfromapsychologicalperspective.[7]Shehasbeen
describedasanexpertonthesubjectofmusclereading.[8]

Technique

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5/30/2017 MusclereadingWikipedia

Thetechniquereliesontheassertionthatthesubjectwillsubconsciouslyrevealtheirthoughtsthroughveryslight
involuntaryphysicalreactions,alsoknownasideomotorresponses.Theperformercandeterminewhatthesubject
isthinkingbyrecognisingandinterpretingthoseresponses.Musclereadingmaybebilledbysomeentertainersas
apsychicphenomenon,wheretheaudiencewillbetoldthatbycreatingphysicalcontactwiththesubject,abetter
psychicconnectioncanbeformed.Infact,thecontactallowstheperformertoreadmoresubtlereactionsinthe
subject'smotorfunctionsthatmaynotbeapparentwithoutcontact,suchasmusclecontrolandheartrate.

Becausemusclereadingreliessoheavilyonthesubject'ssubconsciousreactionstotheirenvironmentand
situation,thistechniqueisusedcommonlywhenperformingstuntsdealingwithlocatingobjectsinanauditorium
oronstage,andassuch,itcanbedone'clean'bythemagicianskilledinreadingbodylanguage.

Performersofteninstructthesubjecttoimaginevoicinginstructions,whichpresumablyamplifiesthereactionsof
thesubject,thuspromotingtheideathatthetrickinvolvesgenuinethoughttranferenceormindreading.However
thesubjectwhois"thinkingdirections"hasaphysical,kinaestheticreactionthatguidestheperformersothatheor
shecan,forexample,locateaspecificplaceonawallonwhichtoplaceapin,withoutpriorknowledgeofwhere
thepinshouldgo.

Knowledgeofmusclereadingisatechniquethatisalsoreportedlyusedbypokerplayerstohidetheirreactionsto
thegame,aswellastoreadtheotherplayersforpotentialbluffsand/orbetterhands.

Seealso
Billetreading
Coldreading
Ideomotoreffect

References
1.Christopher,Milbourne.(1996).TheIllustratedHistoryofMagic.GreenwoodPublishingGroup.p.389
2.GardnerMartin.(2012edition,originallypublishedin1957).FadsandFallaciesintheNameofScience.Dover
Publications.ISBN0486203948"Theunwittingtranslationofthoughtsintomuscularactionisoneofthemostfirmly
establishedfactsofpsychology.Inindividualsparticularlypronetoit,itisresponsibleforsuch"occult"phenomenaas
themovementofaOuijaboard,tabletipping,andautomaticwriting.Itisthebasisofatypeofmindreadingknownin
themagicprofessionas"musclereading."Someonehidesapininaroom,andtheperformerfindsitquicklybyhavinga
spectatortakeholdofhishand.Thespectatorthinksheisbeingledbythemagician,butactuallytheperformerpermits
thespectatortoleadhimbyunconsciousmusculartensions.Manyfamousmusclereadersareabletodispensewith
bodilycontactaltogether,findingthehiddenobjectmerelybyobservingthereactionsofspectatorsintheroom."
3.Jay,Ricky(1986).LearnedPigsandFireproofWomen(https://books.google.com/books?id=HHYAAAAMAAJ).New
YorkCity:VillardBooks.p.175.
4.During,Simon.(2004).ModernEnchantments:TheCulturalPowerofSecularMagic.HarvardUniversityPress.p.162.
ISBN9780674013711
5.Hertz,Carl.(1924).AModernMysteryMerchant.Hutchinson&Company.p.277
6.Neher,Andrew.(2011).ParanormalandTranscendentalExperience:APsychologicalExamination.DoverPublications.
p.33.ISBN0486261670"WashingtonIrvingBishopcoulddriveblindfoldedthroughcitystreets,guidedbythe
involuntarymusclereactionsofapassengerwhoplacedhishandonBishop.Inaddition,Bishopcoulddrivetoalocation
anywhereinthecitywherehispassengerhadhiddenanobjectand,stillthroughreadinghisguide'smusclereactions,
wouldlocatetheobjectinitshidingplace."
7.Roeckelein,JonE.(2004).ImageryinPsychology:AReferenceGuide.Praeger.p.238.ISBN0313321973
8."JuneEttaDowney(18751932)"(http://www.apadivisions.org/division35/about/heritage/junedowneybiography.aspx).
SocietyforthePsychologyofWomen.

Furtherreading
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_reading 2/3
5/30/2017 MusclereadingWikipedia

GeorgeM.Beard.(1882).TheStudyofTrance,MuscleReadingandAlliedPhenomenainEuropeand
America(https://archive.org/details/studyoftrancemus00bear).NewYork.
H.J.Burlingame.(1891).MindReadersandTheirTricks(https://archive.org/stream/leavesfromconjur01bur
l#page/108/mode/2up).InLeavesfromConjurers'Scrapbooks:Or,ModernMagiciansandTheirWorks.
Chicago:Donohue,Henneberry&Co.pp.108127
JuneDowney.(1908).AutomaticPhenomenaofMuscleReading(https://archive.org/details/jstor2011793).
TheJournalofPhilosophy5:650658.
JuneDowney.(1909).MuscleReading:AMethodofInvestigatingInvoluntaryMovementsandMental
Types.PsychologicalReview16:257301.

Externallinks
http://www.randi.org/encyclopedia/muscle%20reading.htmlJamesRandionthesubject
http://dict.die.net/muscle%20reading/dictionarydefinition

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Categories: Magictricks Mentalism

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