Read the following conversation between a young woman and a doctor:
Young woman: Men are all alike.
Doctor: In what way?
Young woman: They’re always bugging us about something or other.
Doctor: Can you think of a specific example?
Young woman: Well, my boyfriend made me come here.
Doctor: Your boyfriend made you come here?
Young woman: He says I’m depressed much of the time.
Doctor: I am sorry to hear you are depressed.
Young woman: It’s true. I am unhappy.
Doctor: Do you think coming here will help you not to be unhappy?
Young woman: I need some help, that much seems certain.
Doctor: What would it mean to you if you got some help?
Young woman: Perhaps I could learn to get along with my mother.
Doctor: Tell me more about your family.
Young woman: My mother takes care of me.
Doctor: Who else in your family takes care of you?
Young woman: My father.
Doctor: Your father?
Young woman: You are like my father in some ways.
Doctor: What resemblance do you see?
Young woman: You are not very aggressive, but I think you don’t want me to notice that.
Doctor: What makes you think I am not very aggressive?
Young woman: You don’t argue with me.
Doctor: Why do you think I don’t argue with you?
Young woman: You are afraid of me.
Doctor: Does it please you to believe I am afraid of you?
Young woman: My father is afraid of everybody.
Doctor: What else comes to mind when you think of your father?
Young woman: Bullies.
Does that have anything to do with the fact that your boyfriend made you come here?
Do you see how the woman is being drawn deeper into the conversation, offering up more personal information about herself and becoming more invested in what the doctor is saying? Notice, too, how little the doctor actually says. His replies are open-ended questions and restatements of her thoughts and feelings, often in the form of a question.
The young woman in this conversation, in other words, is being gradually seduced by the doctor’s cold reading skill.
How does this doctor so effortlessly peer into another person’s soul and build an intimate connection? Who is this doctor with such profound seduction skills?
The “doctor” is a computer program.
Dr. Joseph Weizenbaum, of M.I.T., developed a computer program that would enable a human to apparently carry on a conversation with a computer. One version of his program is called “Doctor” The program is designed to “talk” like a Rogerian psychotherapist. Such a therapist is relatively easy to imitate because the basis of Rogers’ technique is simply to feed the patient’s statements back to him in a paraphrased form. The human, playing the role of the patient, types in questions and answers on a teletype machine. The computer, under control of the program, types replies and questions on the same teletype paper. […]
Doctor is a quite primitive program as natural-language programs go. It employs a lot of tricks and stock phrases. It has no mechanisms for actually understanding sentences. Instead it seeks out keywords that are typed and does some simple syntactical transformations. For example, if the program sees a sentence of the form “Do you X!” it automatically prints out the response “What makes you think I X'” When Doctor cannot match the syntax of a given sentence it can cover up in two ways. It can say something noncommittal, such as “Please go on” or “What does that suggest to you?” Or it can recall an earlier match and refer back to it, as for example, “How does this relate to your depression?” where depression was an earlier topic of conversation.
In essence Doctor is a primitive cold reader. It uses stock phrases to cover up when it cannot deal with a given question or input. And it uses the patient’s own input to feed back information and create the illusion that it understands and even sympathizes with the patient. This illusion is so powerful that patients, even when told they are dealing with a relatively simple-minded program, become emotionally involved in the interaction. Many refuse to believe that they are dealing with a program and insist that a sympathetic human must be at the control at the other end of the teletype.
The above was quoted from an excellent paper on the seductive potency of cold reading, a subject about which the Chateau has written extensively as being a useful tool for bedding women, and which has been a staple manipulation technique described in PUA literature. (I really have to wonder how the anti-game haters can read stuff like this and continue to nurse their denialist delusions. Scratch that, I don’t wonder. The answer is simple: they have little experience seducing women or, for that matter, selling anything, including themselves, to anyone.)
The section in the paper subtitled “The Rules of the Game” is particularly good, and offers some ground rules for improving your cold reading skill.
Cold reading, like its sister skill non-evaluative listening (also demonstrated above), is a powerful rapport-building conversational combo. It is especially effective when used on women, who, being the naturally intuitive sex, tend to formulate phantom connections from nebulous, fact-free associations, like the kind that is the stock in trade of “reading” gimmicks such as palmistry and astrology.
You do not need these gimmicks to successfully cold read a woman, but in hothouse courtship environments like bars and parties they serve as expedient springboards. If girly gimmicks aren’t your thing, you can substitute with a cold reading “stock spiel”:
You can achieve a surprisingly high degree of success as a character reader even if you merely use a stock spiel which you give to every client [ed: aka sexy babe]. [S]everal laboratory studies have had excellent success with the following stock spiel (Snyder and Shenkel 1975):
“Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary and resented. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. You pride yourself on being an independent thinker and do nor accept others’ opinions without satisfactory proof. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. Disciplined and controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside.
“Your sexual adjustment has presented some problems for you. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a strong need for other people to like you and for them to admire you.”
Naturally, you shouldn’t think you have to quote this verbatim. Suit to taste. The key is to get the general gist of it and verbalize it in a way that is appropriate for the context which you share with the woman, and which is congruent with your vibe. Interestingly, the best cold reads are 75% positive and 25% negative.
We found that the best recipe for creating acceptable stock spiels was to include about 75 percent desirable items, but ones which were seen as specific, and about 25 percent undesirable items, but ones which were seen as general. The undesirable items had the apparent effect of making the spiel plausible.
This is very similar in function to vulnerability game, which works by making your projected alphaness seem more plausible to women.
So now that we know cold reading works to build an intimate connection with a woman by making her feel like you know her better than anyone else, the next question is “why does it work”? From the same paper:
But why does it work? And why does it work so well? It does not help to say that people are gullible or suggestible. Nor can we dismiss it by implying that some individuals are just not sufficiently discriminating or lack sufficient intelligence to see through it. Indeed one can argue that it requires a certain degree of intelligence on the part of a client for the reading to work well.
This is why my observation that smart, educated girls fall for game harder than dumb girls rings true among those who routinely pick up women. “Only bar skanks fall for game” haters wept.
Once the client is actively engaged in trying to make sense of the series of sometimes contradictory statements issuing from the reader, he becomes a creative problem-solver trying to find coherence and meaning in the total set of statements. The task is not unlike that of trying to make sense of a work of art, a poem, or, for that matter, a sentence. The work of art, the poem, or the sentence serve as a blueprint or plan from which we can construct a meaningful experience by bringing to bear our own past experiences and memories.
In other words the reading succeeds just because it calls upon the normal processes of comprehension that we ordinarily bring to bear in making sense out of any form of communication. The raw information in a communication is rarely, if ever, sufficient in itself for comprehension. A shared context and background is assumed. Much has to be filled in by inference. The good reader, like anyone who manipulates our perceptions, is merely exploiting the normal processes by which we make sense out of the disorderly array of inputs that constantly bombard us.
Like all game tactics, or any self-improvement pursuit, cold reading is a skill that requires practice. Your first efforts will likely meet with incredulous stares or annoyance, but as you get better you’ll begin to see the change in women’s reactions from doubtful and irritated to intrigued and… yep, you bet… horny.