The Derren Brown Lottery Trick

Derren BrownA lot of people are talking about the recent Derren Brown lottery trick; he predicted the lottery numbers drawn on Wednesday on live television and explained the way he did it on Friday: a group of volunteers used automatic writing and averaged their predicted numbers to get the correct results.

A lot of people are upset with the explanation.

This is because a lot of people are retarded.

The trick – the actual trick – was not in predicting the lottery numbers. However that was done, whether it was:

  • split screen trickery
  • being really, really, really lucky
  • using balls with electronic ink coatings and wi-fi-connected processors inside to reproduce the numbers automatically
  • pixies

is unimportant. That wasn’t the point.

Has nobody ever watched one of Derren Brown’s programmes before? They’re very good. He will quite often get a person or small group of people and subliminally send them down a planned path of responses or persuade them that certain actions are the results of certain other actions. Persuading people that it’s possible to communicate with the dead, for example. Persuading people that they died in a car crash, for example. Persuading people that they’re fighting zombies, for example. Persauding people that they have the ability to predict lottery numbers using automatic writing, for example.

Oh! That last one was this recent show.

The trick was persuading people that they have a group skill in predicting random events. They don’t. That’s why it’s a trick. The trick was to convince 23 of them that they did have this skill though (one of the group was a stooge, needed to add up the random figures written by the others at one point and produce some amazingly close predictions.) Positive reinforcement of the group’s prediction abilities was the crux of the trick; they guessed one right, then three right, then four right with two really (gosh!) close, and then all six (wow! Magic Jesus Cakes Ahoy!)

That everyone was so obsessed with the live lottery-prediction part of the show is classic misdirection. Even the BBC have wasted time and effort getting quotes from professors of Oxford and Cambridge about how it’s just not possible that the subconscious minds of strangers could combine with mathematics to predetermine the random rollings and selections of balls in another part of the city (really? That’s impossible? Really really? Are you sure? Can we get a few more professors to confirm this? Can we?)

It’s sad that so many people missed the point of the show.

You have disappointed me. All of you. Except you Derren. You’re great.

Author: Mark

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3 Comments

  1. Heh yes – it’s not really a ‘prediction’ when he reveals his prediction after the numbers had been announced, is it? He is very entertaining though.

    I’d have done it with pixies too.

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