Monday, June 30, 2014

Training Regimen Available!

It is my great pleasure to tell you that I have begun posting the exact training regimen which I use, rather than vaguely alluding to it as I have been. I will be adding more training games as we go, but the two that are up at this point are the most fundamental to the training process.

If you're viewing this on Tumblr, you may also reach the training regimen page through here.

If you've never tried any of the deductive exercises in the past, I highly recommend you give this a shot. It starts off slow, but it can be surprisingly fun.

I hope you find these exercises as helpful as I do, and I hope you enjoy training with me!

Again, here's the link to the page  ---> Training Exercises

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Where to Look - Hands

            A) Left Palm                                 B) Right Palm

                              D) Right Back

A person's hands tell us a lot about them. What they do,where they've been, how they act, and what they're feeling - all fair game if you know what to look for. Today, we'll be examining a pair of hands, and the conclusions one may draw from them.

       C)  Left Back

Gender - There are very few reasons why gender must be deduced from someone's hands alone (perhaps only their hands are in view in an important photograph). That being said, it may still be useful to you down the road. For starters, look at their choice of watch - this person chose a definitively masculine watch. This preference, in addition to the hand-dryness (seen on palms), the state of their cuticles (seen on backs), and the scars from cuts (right palm and right back) push the balance of probability towards male. Keep in mind, as with all of our deductive exercises, we are rarely 100% certain - we deal in probabilities. In this case, the odds are clearly in favor of the gender being male.

Handedness - This is a much more regularly useful deduction to make. The first thing we can look for is, again, the watch. Most of the time, right-handed individuals will wear their watch on their left hand, as it tends to get in the way when they write. This statistic is not as strong in left-handed people, due mostly to the fact that the widely accepted "correct" way to wear a watch is on the left hand. Still, a watch on the right and is a good indication of left-handedness, and vice versa. Other things to be aware of are the scars on the right hand. This would seem to indicate right-handedness in the same way that a worn out tire would suggest more use than one with a lot of tread.

Habits - Zooming in on the fingernails would show no jagged edges. Do not make the mistake of blindly assuming this person doesn't bite their nails. Indeed they might. The only thing this tells us it that they have not very recently (within a day or two).

A look at their fingertips, when examined closely, show a discrepancy between the amount of skin on each finger. Notice that on the right hand, the fingerprints are easily visible, whereas on the left, the skin seems smoother and shinier. This would indicate that the subject performs an activity which regularly removes surface skin from the fingertips of only one hand. This would be a great time to ask if the subject plays guitar, or perhaps the violin. A yes to either question would give us more evidence that the subject is right handed, as the finger positions on either instrument are usually performed by the non-dominant hand.

Another interesting place to look is the pinkie nail on either hand. Having a longer-than-average nail on the little finger is an interesting observation in that it is a potential indicator of many different things. One fairly benign option is that it is used to clean out the ear and/or nose quickly and discretely. On the other end of the scale, it is used by some as a convenient place for resting certain powder-esque drugs before snorting them up one's nose. And somewhere in the middle, some cultures view a long pinkie nail as a sign of wealth or social status. Be careful, for nothing conclusive may be said about this observation without further evidence.

Random Deductions:

While many of the following facts may not present a solid conclusion one way or the other, remember that in day to day deductions, you are not limited to just someone's hands. The following list is simply to get you thinking about things which you may be able to confirm either by asking or deducing from further details.

  • Military Experience - on a digital watch, you may notice that the time is set to 24 hour format. This is a great way to shift the balance of probability toward or away from military experience. Military time is an odd system to have to get used to, and most people don't unless they have a reason.
  • Income - Notice the watch (brand, material it is made of, number of scratches, etc.). This can help to narrow down someone's income. Be wary - many people give watches as gifts, so this may not be a sure-fire indicator.
  • Recent Reading/Writing - Look for ink stains/smudges on the fingertips and the palm-heels (area above the wrist opposite the thumb). This may give an indication that your subject has been writing/drawing/reading a newspaper recently.
  • Beyond Ink - Be on the lookout for any odd discoloration as a result of grease, stamps, etc. which can tell you a lot about your subject's recent activities (Ex: half washed off stamp could mean they went to a club the night before).
  • Fear/Temperature - The color of the skin on your subjects hand can tell you if they are scared or simply cold. In both situations, the body pulls blood away from the skin and sends it to the vital organs and major muscle groups. This will result in the person's hands looking paler and feeling colder. To decide whether your subject is scared or cold, try shaking hands with them early on to establish a control.
  • Diet - Trembling hands can be a symptom of a fight-or-flight response, not eating enough, or a reaction to a stimulant (caffeine for example). Be sure to check for additional details before assuming they're starving themselves.
  • Rings - Rings are about commitment. Obviously, a ring on the left hand ring finger tells you who they’re committed to. While some rings are worn for fashion or sentimental reasons, be on the lookout for promise rings, engagement rings, or class rings, which you can use to narrow down where they’ve been.

I hope you enjoyed the first of many "Where to Look" posts. As always, if you have any comments or questions about anything on the blog, be sure to comment or send me a message. Your feedback is important and much appreciated.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Deduction #5

New deduction practice! This time, I’m going to turn it over to you. In the comments section, post your conclusions AND the observations that led you there. You must defend your choices. Deduce as much as you can about this person (I’ll jump in if necessary). Good luck!

Better quality version of this picture available here.

Tumblr Joins the Fun

Ladies and gents, this is to let you know that from now on, everydaydeductionist will be available on both Blogger and Tumblr. This is in an effort (mostly) to get a few more viewer submissions and, let's face it - more viewers. So, with that in mind....

If you're reading this on blogger, feel free to go about your business. You may want to check out the parallel version on Tumblr ( just to see if you like the look of it better, but for the most part, nothing's going to change.

However, should you be reading this via Tumblr, rest assured that I'll be working to migrate the older posts over as soon as possible. From now on, both blogs will post simultaneously. For now, feel free to check out for previously posted info, deduction practice, and access to the training regimen I discuss.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Differential Diagnosis

....aaaaand we're back folks!

My sincerest apologies for being gone for so long. School got a little hectic and this got away from me. Now that summer's officially begun, I thought I'd begin anew with a fresh perspective on the science/art I've been discussing thus far.

One of my favorite shows of late has been House M.D.. For those of you unaware, Dr. Gregory House is the medical version of Sherlock Holmes. He uses the rules of logic in combination with his astute observations to diagnose patients who have other doctors stumped. This has led me to another interesting way in which to view deductive exercises.

For the foreseeable future, I'll be attempting to cast a medical light on my deductions. The reason for this is incredibly simple - the act of deducing someone's personality, their recent whereabouts, their career, etc. can all be boiled down to a differential diagnosis.

Here's an example to illustrate my point:

Let's say you see a man in a suit walking into a hotel. Our job is to deduce his career. If we are viewing this exercise as a differential diagnosis, it may first be helpful to get an idea of what he is not, thereby excluding several incorrect guesses before they're made. "Construction worker," for example, while still potentially possible, is definitely not high on the list. We can begin to set aside careers like school principal and restaurant manager  - jobs which do not require much movement outside their place of business. Keep in mind that we do not yet have enough information to completely exclude those options, although we can label them as "less-than-likely."

Now we need to build a list of other observations (symptoms). Closer inspection reveals that the man is wearing cufflinks. This is sufficient to eliminate most if not all of the employees at the hotel - a uniform would not include cufflinks. This means that if the man works for the hotel, he is probably upper management or some other salary position. Furthermore, the man is wearing a bluetooth device suggesting that he is frequently on the phone. Finally, you notice that the briefcase he is carrying is a bit deeper than average. While you're not sure what to do with information, you believe it is a clue to determining the contents.  

Patient History:
It is at this point we can borrow from the medical line of thinking and get a patient history - did the man come from his car? Which door did he enter? Was he greeted by anyone? If so, how? If the man's car is out on the hotel driveway, he's probably a guest using the valet (upper management would have parked in a more permanent location). If the man was greeted by the doorman with a cheerful, "Welcome, first time guest!" Then we have our answer right there.

Let's assume that the doorman ignored the man entirely, and his car is nowhere to be seen. He could still be a guest at the hotel, which would leave quite a bit of wiggle-room in our diagnosis. Let's run a test. One of the most important things to remember about tests (medically and deductively) is that you should first form a hypothesis for testing - you need to have an idea of what you want to find out. In this case, we want to determine whether the man works at the hotel. An easy way to do that is ask him a question a guest would probably not know the answer to. (Ex: "Excuse me, how many rooms does this hotel have?") If the man answers immediately, we can infer that he works at the hotel, and is responsible for running the hotel, or perhaps in a non-customer service department (accounting).

Let's assume that our test was negative - the man has no idea how many rooms the hotel has. This means that it's very likely he's a guest. It is at this point we can use one of the most valuable tools to both deductionists and doctors alike - time. In many cases, the best thing to do is wait for new observations (symptoms) to present themselves. Let's say that after a few seconds, another man walks into the hotel and you observe a meeting between your subject and this new man. They greet each other with a handshake and our subject tells his associate his room number and hands him a business card. Now we can be sure that he's a guest. Furthermore, you can begin to form the strong hypothesis that he's here on business. Now all that's left to do is determine what business. Finally, as the men sit down at a nearby table, you see the subject reach into his briefcase and hand the other man one of many small rectangular cardboard boxes inside. The man turns it over, and you see the label - it's some sort of medication.

The Whiteboard:
There's nothing wrong with writing your ideas down. Even if you choose not to, you should be trying to maintain two separate lists.t  One list contains the information you've gathered (symptoms, strange behaviors, environmental information which might be relevant). The other list is your "top 5." This is a constantly changing list of possible explanations for the observations you've made. In a medical scenario, this would be a list of the most likely diseases causing the symptoms. In this example, this would be a list of professions which your subject might have. The list does not have to contain exactly 5 options (in fact, the more the merrier). The important thing is that you're updating it with every new piece of information you get.

Putting it all together, we have a man who carries medication in his larger-than-average briefcase, may travel occasionally for work, is frequently on the phone, meets his clients one-on-one, and by the state of his cufflinks and suit, appears to be doing well for himself.

One very likely diagnosis is that the man is a pharmaceutical representative - someone whose job is to introduce prescription medications to doctors or even hospital administrators by handing out samples. The other man could be a doctor who may eventually prescribe this medication. A test for this hypothesis my simply be to ask him if he is indeed a drug rep, or any other question which, if answered correctly, would confirm your choice.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and there will be many more. For the most part I will post with the same regularity which I had prior to my break. As always, feel free to submit photos of people and places for deduction exercises.