Street Psychology and Video Marketing

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Anyone involved with marketing on a daily basis tends to become a student of psychology. And those of us buried in the deeper levels of direct response marketing tend to be serious students of psychology.

In my experience (and opinion) psychology gets broken down into two categories; clinical psychology and street psychology.

Clinical psychology is the health services field. It deals with how to fix what’s wrong in our heads. Street psychology is the marketing field. It deals with getting people to do what you want them to.

Cold reading is a perfect example of street psychology. If you’re not familiar with cold reading, it’s the centuries-old practice that “psychics” have used to extract money from people’s wallets. Ian Rowland is considered one of the master’s of cold reading (i.e he teaches you how it works and how to do it). If you want to find out more, you can get his book here (note: his web site was experiencing technical difficulties at the time of this post).

But more visual (and entertaining) examples of street psychology have come from Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in the UK.  He has performed numerous mass experiments that show not only how our brains react, universally, but how our brains can trick us into taking actions or forming beliefs…correct or not.

Here’s a perfect example of how video can do this.  Take a look at the video Richard Wiseman did below.  You’ll immediately think you know the “secret” to his trick.  Trust me, you’ll be wrong:

If you’d like to see more of his videos, visit his YouTube channel.

But he goes even further with what he calls Quirkology.  What is it?  It’s his study of how big truths are discovered in small things.  Or how the behaviors of humans can be predicted.   To see this in action, take some of his online quizzes here.

The point with all these examples and resources is that when it comes to marketing…yes, even marketing with video…it’s good to have training in street psychology.  No, not so you can rip people off like a “psychic”…but so you can understand “how the herd moves”…how people will react (universially) when presented with specific information.

Now here’s a bonus quiz.  You’re familiar with Roman Numerals, right?  Well, take a look at the image below.  Now imagine taking a pen, and while drawing a single, continuous lineand without ever removing the tip of your pen from the paper…turn this into a 6Almost no one can figure this out:


Stumped? Click on the image to see the solution.

3 comments

  • Cold reading has always impressed folks. And what’s not to be amazed about? Even if the person can’t really read your brain as he would read words in a novel, there’s still something undeniably striking about a individual who can read you instantly.