After last week’s lottery-predicting stunt (which still has people arguing about how he did it), this week’s Derren Brown show promised that the nation would be quite literally glued to our seats in a feat of subliminal suggestion.
Anyone who’s read Derren’s (brilliant, highly recommended) book will know all about the techniques that he used last night, and it had nothing to do with subliminal effects: the “film” we were asked to watch was a sideshow. The method is explained in the chapter about hypnotism, and it’s all to do with suggestion and reinforcement. He asks you to notice all the points where your body is in contact with the seat, and then those bits will feel heavy. Add in a bit of muscle stiffness (keeping your head in a particular position, making sure your feet were flat on the floor), a bit of flattery (only the very talented would be able to do this) and a bit of fear (keep your phone nearby), and the scene is all set.
So doubtless this one worked on a few suggestible people. Not on me, though, partly because the cat was digging her claws in me, which did my concentration no good, but partly because I’d read the book and knew what he was up to. As I also knew the lady in Hamleys was going to choose a giraffe – did anyone fail to notice the amount of giraffe patterns around that shop?
Subliminal suggestion was working on another level, though – Pauseliveaction Junior is now demanding a trip to Hamleys at the earliest opportunity.