Ouija effect

The Ouija board is a well known party game in which a moving glass or planchette moves around a board spelling out messages under the direction of the "spirits." The game vividly demonstrates the power of suggestibility in group dynamics. What is essentially a group decision-making process, takes place at a subliminal level without overt leadership. The fact that group behaviour can work in this way is far more interesting than any nonsense about chatting with the spirits. On an individual basis, the underlying mechanism is known as the ideomotor effect. Collectively, it does much to explain the creative flow of a well functioning ensemble, what can be called "group talent."

Actors learn to release their capacity for this effect through such exercises as the well known "mirror game" in which two actors face and mirror each other, and find themselves moving while neither is aware of leading.

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Jonathan Paul Cook © 2010