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The technique, or an instance, of using likely guesses and assumptions, then narrowing in on any positive responses, in order to give the impression of having information about a person or event.

The self-described psychic was merely using cold reading.

Additional definitions for 'cold reading':

cold readingUsed other than as an idiom: see cold, reading.
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"cold reading." Phrases.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. <http://www.phrases.net/phrase/cold-reading_11740>.

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