About Fortune telling
I studied the semiotics at university. The semiotics is a study to analyse cultures as system of "signs".
Let’s put aside complicated things,
While I have searched with keywords "culture" or "sign", I found that the fortune telling is so interesting. Especially I’m attracted by the Tarot, so I researched a lot about it.
The fortune telling, it lets us imagine something mysterious. But that’s not true. It comes from a belief "Anything happening in the world, it’s decided by the God". It means, for exemple in Tarot reading, we can say "The God conveys his will on any card we deal". Maybe some fortune teller do mysterious arts believing the God. But the most part of fortune teller today do their business by observation and application of psychology.
How to let people believe
What fortune tellers use is, "Barnum effect" and "Confirmation bias".
The barnum effect is a psychological phenomenon that we are tend to believe some descriptions about our personalities, even if it’s vague and general enough. For example, imagine a fortune teller says to you "You are always friendly to people you don’t know, but sometimes you are shy." or "You have a anxiety for your future. " . Don’t you feel it’s the truth? But in reality, each descriptions are vague. Any friendly boys could be shy in front of a pretty girl, and anyone has some anxiety for their future.
And, the confirmation bias is the tendency to search for information that affirm our prior belief, and ignore information that not affirm. For example, it is said that people who has Virgo as sign is nervous. Let’s imagine someone who believes in it firmly. When he meets a nervous boy of Virgo, he thinks "Ah right, he is nervous Virgo!" . But when he sees a girl of Virgo who doesn’t care of details, he might think "Oh, she is an exception of Virgo.".
Fortune tellers use these psychological tendencies and also detailed observations to "see" private information of clients, and let them believe that the fortune teller foretells the future. By the way, a part of performers like magicians also apply these psychology to amuse audiences. And it works same for fraud.
It is necessary to know about the psychology and to have good observations if you do business with humain. I think that fortune telling is the ultimate art of communication, don’t you think so?