There’s all sorts of reasons why pseudosciences flourish. One which is overlooked is that it’s not stupid people who get taken in. In fact if you’re planning a successful career in deception there are plenty of good reasons not to target stupid people. A fool and his money are easily parted, so they’re not likely to be rich. They’ll explain your story to others in simple terms, exposing you pretty quickly. Finally stupid people need things explained to them carefully. It’s a lot of hard and unnecessary work. I’ve an amateur interest in magic, especially mentalism. Cold reading isn’t a magic technique, but it’s a useful skill to have to add finesse to tricks. The one of the ways it works may also explain one of the reasons people find pseudosciences so compelling.
Put simply Cold Reading is a way of providing some words and leaving the mark to make sense of it. In much the same way a hole-in-one is simply hitting a golf ball so that it lands in the hole at the first attempt. I’ll try and give some examples but like a lot of tricks they look mundane once written down.
Here’s my first prediction.