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Old 08-30-2009, 11:30 PM
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Default Hard data on the most popularly-chosen cards

Hey gang-- it's been a year since we started doing the "mind control scam" youtube card trick. (for more on how the trick is done, visit mindcontrolscam.com)

One year later, and it's now been performed over 80,000 times. Since we're able to track (and log) which cards are selected for the trick, we're inadvertently running the first large-scale survey on what cards are most likely to be thought of by a spectator in an actual performance setting.

This is an interesting opportunity to find some hidden behaviors, and possibly come up with a way to exploit them, as well :-)

With a sample size of 80,000, here are the results to date (expressed first as a pie chart):



first off, surprisingly, over 25% of all hits come from only four cards: the Ace of spades, Queen of Hearts, Ace of Hearts, and Ace of Diamonds.

Only 15 cards make up 50% of the cards most likely to be thought of.

Spades was the most popular suit, with 24,000 selections.
Hearts was a close second, with almost 23,000.
Diamonds trailed at #3, with 17,300,
and Clubs was a DISTANT fourth place, with 14,600 picks. (note, this is barely more than 1/2 of Spades' numbers)

The least popular card in the entire deck is the 10 of clubs.

I'd love to hear what observations you find. The full XL document is here.

In case you just want a quick glance, the raw data is given in ASCII form below (download the XL file if you plan to play with the numbers at all):

RAW DATA, giving YT ACCOUNT / # of HITS / CARD VALUE / SUIT
professoralfredsin on YouTube 7,144 1 Spades
reverendbyrontri on YouTube 5,073 12 Hearts
reverendalfredsin on YouTube 4,292 1 Hearts
doctoralfredsin on YouTube 3,891 1 Diamonds
reverendcharlestri on YouTube 2,377 13 Hearts
professoralfredtri on YouTube 2,338 11 Spades
coachbyrondou on YouTube 2,193 7 Clubs
professorcharlessin on YouTube 1,984 3 Spades
professorcharlestri on YouTube 1,713 13 Spades
reverendbyrondou on YouTube 1,606 7 Hearts
reverendcharlessin on YouTube 1,596 3 Hearts
coachalfreddou on YouTube 1,562 6 Clubs
professorbyrontri on YouTube 1,504 12 Spades
coachalfredsin on YouTube 1,495 1 Clubs
professorbyrondou on YouTube 1,479 7 Spades
doctorcharlessin on YouTube 1,476 3 Diamonds
doctorcharlestri on YouTube 1,460 13 Diamonds
reverendbyronsin on YouTube 1,393 2 Hearts
doctorbyronsin on YouTube 1,358 2 Diamonds
reverendcharlesdou on YouTube 1,356 8 Hearts
reverendalfredtri on YouTube 1,335 11 Hearts
coachcharlessin on YouTube 1,304 3 Clubs
professorcharlesdou on YouTube 1,298 8 Spades
reverenddavidsin on YouTube 1,290 4 Hearts
professorbyronsin on YouTube 1,244 2 Spades
doctordavidsin on YouTube 1,235 4 Diamonds
doctorbyrondou on YouTube 1,203 7 Diamonds
reverendedgarsin on YouTube 1,178 5 Hearts
doctoredgarsin on YouTube 1,172 5 Diamonds
coachcharlestri on YouTube 1,162 13 Clubs
coachcharlesdou on YouTube 1,150 8 Clubs
doctoralfreddou on YouTube 1,129 6 Diamonds
coachalfredtri on YouTube 1,087 11 Clubs
doctoralfredtri on YouTube 1,033 11 Diamonds
professoralfreddou on YouTube 1,006 6 Spades
coachbyronsin on YouTube 998 2 Clubs
doctorbyrontri on YouTube 953 12 Diamonds
doctorcharlesdou on YouTube 882 8 Diamonds
professoredgardou on YouTube 859 10 Spades
coachdavidsin on YouTube 858 4 Clubs
reverenddaviddou on YouTube 857 9 Hearts
reverendedgardou on YouTube 844 10 Hearts
doctoredgardou on YouTube 836 10 Diamonds
reverendalfreddou on YouTube 817 6 Hearts
coachbyrontri on YouTube 775 12 Clubs
doctordaviddou on YouTube 750 9 Diamonds
professordaviddou on YouTube 748 9 Spades
coachedgarsin on YouTube 747 5 Clubs
professordavidsin on YouTube 733 4 Spades
coachdaviddou on YouTube 686 9 Clubs
professoredgarsin on YouTube 680 5 Spades
coachedgardou on YouTube 675 10 Clubs
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2009, 12:27 AM
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The 24,000 spade choices is statistically significant. The expectation is 20,000 spade choices. However, 80,000 is a such huge number of trials, 24,000 extra choices is like 32 standard deviations away from expectation. That is, the chances of this happening assuming that the actual preference for spades is 25% is astronomically small. Nice.

The ace of space thing is over one hundred standard deviations away from what you would expect.
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Last edited by masherscf : 08-31-2009 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:40 AM
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I did a similar study on my own utilizing a survey through Amazon's Mechanical Turk. My goal was to find the optimal phrasing of a "think of a card" trick to yield the highest results in one area. My groups for the two surveys I did were approximately 350 in size (obviously not as high as Brian's).

Control Question: "Name a playing card"

Top 5 Cards Chosen (Overall)
Ace of Spades: 32.9%
Queen of Hearts: 9.5%
Ace of Hearts: 9.2%
King of Hearts: 3.5%
Jack of Hearts: 3.5%

Suit Data (Overall):
Spades: 45%
Hearts: 34.2%
Diamonds: 10.4%
Clubs: 9.2%

Suit Data (Male):
Spades: 46.4%
Hearts: 28.3%
Diamonds: 10.9%
Clubs: 12.3%

Suit Data (Female):
Spades: 43.8%
Hearts: 38.8%
Diamonds: 10.1%
Clubs: 6.7%

As these data would hopefully give me an easy to do mental effect; I wanted to avoid the Ace of Spades. It is too iconic a card and guessing that someone thought of it is not all that impressive. I have been learning about suggestion and mentalism for a while now and I am a certified hypnotist. From studying these things i have learned that even the slightest suggestion can have a major effect. I modified my question to the below garnering the following results.

"Name any playing card, first one that comes to mind; just not the Ace of Spades as that is too obvious"

Top 4* Cards Chosen (Overall)
Queen of Hearts: 27.1%
King of Hearts: 10.5%
Jack of Hearts: 4.8%
Ace of Hearts: 4.5%
*Everything else is pretty negligible

Suit Data (Overall):
Spades: 8.3%
Hearts: 62.9%
Diamonds: 18.5%
Clubs: 8.9%

Suit Data (Male):
Spades: 14.5%
Hearts: 46.9%
Diamonds: 23.4%
Clubs: 12.4%

Suit Data (Female):
Spades: 2.9%
Hearts: 75.9%
Diamonds: 14.1%
Clubs: 5.9%

The reason there is such a drastic change in the number of spades chosen has to do with how the brain deals with the idea of things being "not" something. When you say "But NOT the Ace of Spades" it is interpreted as "my choice must be DIFFERENT than the Ace of Spades" resulting in an overall drop in not only Aces but a massive drop in Spades. Now without getting into a heated discussion about the differences between men and women i will simply say that on the whole women follow directions better than men. They are willing to go along with what is asked much more readily and not try and mess you up. For this reason many mentalism effects are designed specifically for women or men. With this in mind I broke down the Queen of Hearts into Male and Female choices getting these results.

Queen of Hearts (Control question)
Male: 4%
Female: 12.2%

Queen of Hearts (Ace excluded question)
Male: 17.9%
Female: 34.9%

35% is very high when it comes to a free choice mentalism trick. Considering that you can mathematically argue that they had a free choice of 51 cards (meaning you have a .02% chance of guessing correctly).

Per Murphy1d's request i have removed my exact methodology for utilizing this data. I left the data up though as Brian messaged me on twitter asking me to post it. Essentially though there is indeed a way to utilize this information to create a mind reading effect that works 100% of the time when handled correctly. I have had many a person thinking i have powers because of it.

Last edited by crash0verride : 08-31-2009 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:47 AM
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It strikes me that you can make money off of this. one might assume that the odds of guessing that card a person has chosen is 51 to 1 against. You could bet someone that you can guess what card their thinking off. The terms, they put up fifty dollars, you put up one. If they win, they get your $1, if you win you get the $50. Sounds like a fair bet...right.

However, given this preference for the ace of space, it's actually closer to 10 to 1 against.... this is how casinos work.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masherscf View Post
It strikes me that you can make money off of this. one might assume that the odds of guessing that card a person has chosen is 51 to 1 against. You could bet someone that you can guess what card their thinking off. The terms, they put up fifty dollars, you put up one. If they win, they get your $1, if you win you get the $50. Sounds like a fair bet...right.

However, given this preference for the ace of space, it's actually closer to 10 to 1 against.... this is how casinos work.
The nature of betting will change how people respond though. It puts everyone on the offensive. I am sure that if you surveyed under the guise of making small bets with people you would get a whole new set of data. For example if you ask someone "think of a color, what is it?" and don't give them time to think about it the most common choice is red. But if I said "I bet you $50 i can guess what color you are thinking of" you can be sure there would be a lot more Ceruleans.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:05 AM
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Hi Crash, welcome to Brian's little world here. We all have a lot of fun here.

Now, I don't pretend to know what Brian is thinking, but I do know that in the past he has asked for forum posters to send him an IM or e-mail with their favorite scam. That way he might use it on the show and get it out to the thousands of other people who watch the show.

So, (IMO) posting details of the trick on the forums kinda spoils it for the forum people.

I have seen several people write about their favorite trick without giving away the secrets, and this allows Brian the ability to make a decent show from it (see Episode 73 for an example).

I would bet that he knows the "queen of hearts propensity" already, and he has done an episode like this idea already (Episode 60).

I guess I'm asking that you only "tease" us with some of the ideas you have, but give Brian the chance to see it through on an episode, and thus giving all of us a chance to enjoy the reveal.

Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy1d View Post
Hi Crash, welcome to Brian's little world here. We all have a lot of fun here.

Now, I don't pretend to know what Brian is thinking, but I do know that in the past he has asked for forum posters to send him an IM or e-mail with their favorite scam. That way he might use it on the show and get it out to the thousands of other people who watch the show.

So, (IMO) posting details of the trick on the forums kinda spoils it for the forum people.

I have seen several people write about their favorite trick without giving away the secrets, and this allows Brian the ability to make a decent show from it (see Episode 73 for an example).

I would bet that he knows the "queen of hearts propensity" already, and he has done an episode like this idea already (Episode 60).

I guess I'm asking that you only "tease" us with some of the ideas you have, but give Brian the chance to see it through on an episode, and thus giving all of us a chance to enjoy the reveal.

Thanks.
Thanks for the welcome and the info. Let me know if you think that is still too revealing.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy1d View Post
I guess I'm asking that you only "tease" us with some of the ideas you have, but give Brian the chance to see it through on an episode, and thus giving all of us a chance to enjoy the reveal.

Thanks.
In this case, there's nothing to worry about. I've got no agenda, and just wanted to foster a discussion on what we can do with this info. If anything stumbles into a spoiler for an upcoming SS episode, I'll make sure to let you know.

Crash0verride: speculate on!
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shwooddotcom View Post
In this case, there's nothing to worry about. I've got no agenda, and just wanted to foster a discussion on what we can do with this info. If anything stumbles into a spoiler for an upcoming SS episode, I'll make sure to let you know.

Crash0verride: speculate on!
If you are interested there is a Derren Brown method for verbally forcing cards (3 of Diamonds or Jack of Spades primarily, though you can develop it out for any card really). It is incredibly elegant. I have no statistical data on it (yet) but I currently use it as a suggestibility test for hypnosis.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:26 AM
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wow I wish I had this data a few years ago when I needed to do a project for my stats class, it would be fun to play with the #'s but I don't really have the time or the Macros on Excel anymore
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