Monday, May 5, 2008

Derren Brown's Speed Learning -- How Did He Do It?

Last Friday, Derren Brown opened the second season of Trick or Treat with an excellent episode in which DB (apparently) used a photoreading-like technique to help a "treat" recipient learn trivia and place second in a pub quiz.

[UPDATE: read what participant Glen Brighton said about the trick]

As always, it was quite entertaining. Since the episode aired, this blog has been visited by hundreds of people searching for some variation of the phrase "Derren Brown speed learning system." It's become obvious that we are all wondering how he did it.

A Few Theories

1. In its recap of the episode, the Mirror made the not-too-original suggestion that Derren Brown must be in league with the devil, as did the Guardian.

2. But the Mirror also made the amusing suggestion that DB set up numerous pub quizzes, filmed them all, and only showed the one in which his pupil placed well in the quiz (a la DB's method in the System).

3. Many bloggers seem to have accepted that the super-learning technique works as shown.

4. Others accept that DB really did teach his pupil a super-learning technique, but maintain that the system is different from (or more complicated than) what was shown in the episode.

5. Finally, the extreme skeptics are saying that the quiz was rigged.

Cast your vote (or propose a new theory) in the survey to the right of this entry -->>

I will post the results later this week.

Future Episodes

If you are wondering what the remaining Trick or Treat 2 episodes hold in store, see, which reports that one episode will examine the skills mediums use to escape from ropes very quickly in the dark.

Another episode will feature David Tennant and will air on May 23, 2008, according to the actor's official website.


wholook said...

If one is to suspect an old trick, surely this bears far more resemblance to the feat in Trick or Treat 1 where he taught a young lady to play the piano in one week than The System.

I am posting this as a comment not in the voting system because I have no reason to convince myself this is indeed the secret behind the feat, nor do I have any evidence to support the theory.

dvdwlsh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dvdwlsh said...

"Carfax". Explore that and you find your answers. Well played, Derren.

Daniel said...

I agree with wholook. In my opinion, he chose a guy he knew to have a good general knowledge, as he's a bit geeky and noticeably fairly intelligent.
He then spent one week convincing him he had superpowers, so that he would be confident and not nervous in the quiz, because we all know that nervousness blocks information in stressful situations.
The Carfax part was probably planted in the guy's mind, as the process of him recalling strongly resembles the episode of the BMX bike.