Star Wars made the Jedi mindtrick look like something that took years of dedication and practice to accomplish, but the truth is getting people to think and do what you want is far simpler than science fiction makes it out to be. Here are a dozen simple ways you can mess with people’s minds without their realizing it just like a true Master Jedi:
Expectations Vs. Reality
The simplest demonstration of this is with wine. Take an expensive wine bottle and fill it with cheap wine. Most people will never know the difference and believe the wine they are drinking is delicious because they saw it poured from an expensive bottle. Their expectations literally trick their mind and their palate into believing that something cheap actually tastes amazing.
Revisionist Personal History
Begin by asking a friend to relate to you, in as much detail as possible, the day they graduated from high school or college. Next, ask them to describe in similar detail their wedding day (or first date). Lastly, ask the mark about the day they borrowed $100 from you (or some similar event that never actually happened), and they will immediately give you a detailed description down to the weather and what you were wearing at the time. Psychologists and con men call this the “lost in the mail” technique.
The Exhaustion Exploit
People are far weaker mentally when they are very tired, so they don’t tend to examine incoming information as closely under these circumstances. Thanks to their reduced filtering, it is much easier to get people to accept your requests for favors or believe lies you tell them when they are tired.
Mastering “The Choke”
Want to make any competent competitor fail spectacularly? Be as supportive as possible and cheer them on with the utmost sincerity. The knowledge that you are watching their performance makes them self-conscious, and thus many become distracted and end up losing or failing at their skill based task or game because they are worried they will not live up to expectations.
The Tickle-Proof Effect
Hold your partner's hand with your hand over theirs and ask them to tickle you. It will have zero effect. If you really want to up the ante to brush them off or break up, you can even tell them that it is scientific proof that the two of you are incompatible.
Fighting Center of Gravity
This multi-step trick exploits one of the fundamental differences between men and women. Girls, here is how you pull one over on guys: begin by standing about two feet from a wall, then place a chair between you and the wall. Next, bend over straight-backed until your head is on the wall. Pick the chair up, and stand up straight (something you should be able to do with ease). Now ask a guy to repeat those steps. More than likely, most guys will fall when they go to pick up the chair and stand up straight. Why is this? A woman’s center of gravity does not shift past her toes during this activity, whereas a man’s shifts way beyond that point and they are often unable to regain their balance again.
When you repeatedly make gesture to the left when thinking about a past event, the event will feel further away. Gestures closer to the right make the event feel closer. This is so effective it is actually scary.
Place a brick inside a cardboard box, then place an equally sized brick into a smaller cardboard box. Get someone to pick up both boxes, and ask which one is heavier. People always choose the smaller box because the brick looks bigger in the smaller box, thus their assumption that it is the heavier of the two even though they weight the exact same amount.
You can make anyone believe that they are eating stale food even when eating fresh food if they are holding stale food while they eat fresh. This is due to the fact that touch has surprisingly more influence on our perception of taste than we realize.
Get a friend to hold out their hands and keep them apart as you lay a stick across them. Now tap the stick on the places where it makes contact with their hands, quickly switching between them. The result? They feel phantom taps all across the stick, as if a ghost rabbit is bouncing on it.
A Friend in Need
If you want someone to be friendly towards you, ask them for a favor. They will subconsciously assume they helped you because they like you. This psychological phenomenon has been dubbed the Benjamin Franklin effect.
The Blind Taste Test
Make a bet with your friend that they can’t taste the difference between various kinds of milk. Give them the same milk three times, and then serve them orange juice for the fourth drink. Most likely, the acidity of the orange juice will make them gag because they were expecting milk and got something completely different. The brain jumping to conclusions about what we are drinking is an evolved trait to help minimize alarmins surprises in our environment.