124

Yes, humans are more predictable than random chance. It is known as the "Blue-Seven Phenomena", because when asked for a colour and a number from one to nine, these perform beyond expectation. This 2015 encyclopedia entry surveys the research. One large sample of Japanese university students found: As for the preferred number, the subjects in Saito’s ...


45

Human beings are really bad at picking random numbers. The reason is that we are hard-wired to identify patterns in nature -- even to the extent of seeing patterns where none exist. But while this helps us hunt (we are predators, after all, and the outline of an animal shape in the bushes means prey), we experience a cognitive dissonance when trying to ...


38

Sword swallowers are indeed placing a real metal sword down their throats and into their stomachs. It is (obviously) extremely dangerous and risky, which is part of what makes it so captivating to see. This site which is affiliated with Sword Swallowing International has some good information and photos. Quoting from their FAQ: Q: "Don't you use a ...


18

It's fake. Here's a screencap I took, and the arrows are pointing at the fishing line or piece of thread he's using to manipulate the objects. As for the Gamma waves... The best description I found was from "Epilepsy & Behavior" Vol. 13 Iss. 1: [Gamma brainwaves] have been studied in all sensory systems and are associated with selective attention, ...


13

Pliable Wood + Elongated Shaft = Easily Bendable/Breakable Spear This video demonstrates step by step on how a Shaolin Monk breaks a spear. Look at how easily the shaft bends as he applies his weight to it. This is misleading as a deadly weapon, because if a spear did this during combat, it would be rendered useless very quickly. Listen closely to the '...


10

During her 1988 visit to the United States, educational psychologist Professor Arthur Jensen, University of California, Berkeley, have tried to unlock the secret of her abilities. He published his work in Journal of Intelligence. Speed of Information Processing in a Calculating Prodigy Note: It's also the source of the answers in this post. Could ...


8

An other approach, less to answer the question about statistics, but more about how to pull of the Trick. There are 2 Methothds that you can do this. One is trying to figure out, what number the other person is thinging based on tells (bodylanguage). Example here and explained here. The other one is more complicated, and needs a little preparation. The ...


7

Quite real. Brian Witcombe and Dan Meyer are authors of a BMJ paper "Sword swallowing and its side effects" where they asked 110 sword swallowers about medical conditions related to sword swallowing of whom 46 responded. Sore throats seem to be a common problem, but more serious problems such as intestinal bleeding are in there too. Thirteen respondents ...


3

The handshake method, I believe, originates from Milton H. Erickson. Here is an excerpt from The Letters of Milton H. Erickson: Relation to catatonia: Briefly, so far as I can tell, there is no real relationship between self-induced trances and catatonia. A recovered catatonia in excellent remission, trained to be a good hypnotic subject, impresses ...


2

An example is given at http://www.irishexaminer.com/analysis/fiction-imitates-real-life-in-a-case-of-true-inspiration-172752.html Bell once remarked to an astonished outpatient: “I know you are a beadle and ring the bells on Sundays at a church in Northumberland somewhere near the Tweed.” “I’m all that,” said the man, “but how do you know? I never told ...


2

I haven't read this paper, so I don't know how it reaches its conclusions, but I would really like to: Note: Re-formatted for Skeptics.SE. "Ss" stands for "subjects". Toward an explanation of stage hypnosis. Meeker, William B.; Barber, Theodore X. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol 77(1), Feb 1971, 61-70. doi: 10.1037/h0030419 Explains stage hypnosis ...


2

If you asked 1000 people for a random number and lined that list up against 1000 actually random numbers, increasing the sample size to something meaningful, a statistician would be able to tell the difference. In the Radiolab episode Stochasticity (that is, something which is randomly determined) they do a very similar exercise. At about 9 minutes in they ...


1

According to this, 17 and 7 were the most frequently chosen by people (a poll of blog readers) asked to pick a number from 1 to 20 -- those two numbers together accounted for 30% of respondents' picks, significantly higher than the expected value of 10%. And according to this, people most often choose 7 if asked to name a number between 1 and 10. And ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible