First Look at “Deception with Keith Barry”

Last night while tossing and turning with insomnia, I came across “Deception with Keith Barry” on the Discovery Channel. Being a fan of other Discovery Channel shows, I gave it a watch. The premise was that this Irish mentalist was going to work with used car salesmen and explain how they use “mind control” to make us buy a lemon of a ’97 Buick with 150,000 miles and a cracked windshield for $15,000.  Maybe that was just me.  After I heard the phrase “mind control” I thought I was in for a woo-fest and settled in with a bag of popcorn.

Barry mentioned more than once that he was going to “hack into your subconscious”.  Again, this seemed like techno-woo to me.  As I watched the program, however, Barry went on to explain some basic facts about human perception that seemed to have some basis in science.  For example, he had a subject sit across from him at a table and look into his eyes while he held a tie under the table.  He asked the subject to pick a color and a pattern that they would like to see on the tie.  Of course they could not see the tie before they gave their answer.  Everyone doing this picked the color blue with a white polka dot pattern.  The subjects were amazed to see that the tie under the table was indeed blue with white polka dots.  Barry then explained the “trick”.  He and the subjects were sitting beside a large window.  For a split second while Barry was asking them to imagine any color and pattern, a blue car with white polka dots drove by.  The implication was that the car was seen out of one’s peripheral vision and subconsciously everyone picked the color and pattern predicted by Barry.

The show was an odd, but somewhat entertaining, mix of stage magic and Psych 101.  What bothered me was the fact that Barry, on some of his more spectacular mind reading tricks, refused to explain how it was done.  I found myself wondering if this new show was trying to be informative from a scientific point of view or just fun parlor tricks.  The jury is still out on that one.  I recommend giving an episode or two a try.

About Guy McCardle

Guy McCardle is an American science writer and skeptic. He is a certified Infection Prevention Specialist and served proudly as a Captain in the Army Medical Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom. A devoted father and husband, he offers his unique viewpoints regarding science and the public interest.
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11 Responses to First Look at “Deception with Keith Barry”

  1. The Big Smoke says:

    With this kind of stuff I think they don’t want to show you how it’s done to avoid giving hints to sociopaths who would use it for nefarious purposes, but I could be wrong. Great recommendation!

  2. Craig Good says:

    Sounds like he’s doing Derren Brown’s act.

  3. Anant says:

    Keith barry have superpower brain and his job is very wonderful and excellent, One suggest to him please get open some hint tricks.

  4. Tangim says:


  5. david says:

    im right into nunomics,involantary muscle movements,and aspecially the psycophysiological thought reading.KEITH BARRY is a god at these and other mentalist challenges.AWESOME keep at it

    • tyler says:

      hi david do you have recommandations about thought reading i read a lot of books from mentalism and body language reading but i didn’t find anything about this type of effect like Keith or derren Brown performance if you have any tips send me a reply thanks.

  6. harleyhjkk says:

    He is really good to watch, just amazing stuffs.

  7. Kenny says:

    The term “subconscious” itself is something of a woo term and a big non-scientific red flag; people with experience in psychology would typically say “unconscious.”

  8. Anonymous says:

    the episode that “affected” me the most was the “sleeper”! Reminds me of Nazi scientists that certain un-named countries fought for after WW2 and certain government techniques still being used today! But of course, skeptics will be skeptics always. This guy brings things to the forefront with only a whisper. For those that think this isn’t real……..realize that each of us have been controlled since day 1. That square box in your living room is the most and least obvious tool!!

  9. Antony says:

    I am a big fan of Keith Barry, his mentalism powers are just mind blowing!

  10. maya says:

    me too..addicted to see more of his power! 🙂

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