The Prediction

A departure from the first two videos, which both feature cards, The Prediction gives a unique twist to a classic mathematical puzzle. The viewer is taken on an interesting journey of choices, as Prof Wiseman appears to achieve the impossible by predicting your result.

This video continues to baffle YouTube viewers, particularly when those who miscount the steps believe they have ‘fooled’ Richard. Upon watching the video a second time, such viewers occasionally comment on their amazement at getting two completely different results.

You can test Richard’s ability to predict your result by watching The Prediction below.

DISCLAIMER: This video is copyright Richard Wiseman, all rights reserved. This video may not be used or re-created for any commercial purpose without permission, and may not be altered or edited for any purpose without permission.


Richard explains why he chose to make this particular video.

"As a kid I used to love mathematical oddities, and The Prediction pays homage to all of the magicians and mathematicians who have spent time creating such puzzles to entertain and intrigue others. There are many different variants of the grid-type idea that I am performing here, and I believe that this one was invented by Martin Gardner.

The basic idea is that although you feel as if you are making a free choice, the mathematical principles involved ensure that (providing you correctly follow the instructions) you will always end up on the happy face. Several performers have presented these types of pieces as interactive items on television or radio over the years, including my wonderfully inventive colleague, Max Maven.

I added a near-subliminal image of the happy face towards the front of the video because I am a big fan of the various urban myths suggesting that such effects actually influence people’s behaviour. I discuss subliminal perception in the Quirkology book, arguing that the evidence suggests that such effects are very weak and quite possibly non-existent."



Quirkology book cover
Online Experiments
Analyze yourself