As an advocate for a reduction in TV violence, you would probably say, "watching violence on TV turns our young people into criminals." If you were an advocate for freedom of expression on television, you might find out the real number of young people in the 2%. Let's say it is 3 million. You might conclude that "millions of children watch violent programs regularly, and they don't end up as criminals."

Another common way in which statistics are manipulated is by leaving out key information. For instance, a company claims it is edging out its competitor with higher sales. They are correct in stating that they have had a 50% increase in sales, compared with only a 25% increase for their competitors. Is their claim valid? You can't know unless you have more information. What if the competitor sold two thousand bicycles last year, and 2,400 this year; the other company sold 40 bicycles last year, and 60 this year. Edging out the competition? Hardly.

When you hear a statistic, either in an advertisement, a political speech, a newspaper article, or other source, remember that it is not necessarily true. Then, ask yourself three questions: Is the statistic meaningful? Does it deliberately misrepresent the data collected? Does it give you all the information you need to evaluate it? Thinking critically about statistics will help you to avoid making the wrong conclusions, or relying on information that is faulty or simply untrue.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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