Lie to Me was a television series (2009-2011) about Dr. Cal Lightman and his colleagues assisting in investigations, reaching the truth through applied psychology: interpreting microexpressions, through the Facial Action Coding System, and body language.
Facial action coding system is a system to taxonomize human facial movements. These movements are encoded by FACS from slight different instant changes in facial appearance. It's a common standard to categorize the physical expression of emotions. It seems that it is REALLY difficult to control these reactions, so if one understand FACS, it's hard to lie to one.
This skill is useful, not only for psychologists and animators, but for con-men and stage mediums and magicians, as it is the base of cold reading.
To learn FACS you need to study the muscles of face and head, and see how their movements show on face.
The Mentalist was a television series (2008-2015) following former "psychic" Patrick Jane, who is a consultant to the California Bureau of Investigation. He admits to faking the supernatural aspects of his skills, often asserting that "there's no such thing as psychics." yet he has finely honed skills in cold reading, hypnosis, and picking pockets, as well as powerful observational skill and a deep insight into the human psyche and behavior.
"Without prior knowledge, a practiced cold-reader can quickly obtain a great deal of information by analyzing the person's body language, age, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, manner of speech, place of origin, etc."
- Cold Reading, Wikipedia
Derren Brown is an English illusionist, mentalist, trickster, hypnotist, painter, writer, and sceptic. He is known for his appearances in television. Brown claims his performances of mind-reading and other feats of mentalism are not the result of psychic or paranormal practices, but a combination of "magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection, and showmanship."
Leverage is a television series (2008-2012) that follows a five-person team: a thief, a grifter, a hacker, and a retrieval specialist, led by former insurance investigator Nathan Ford, who use their skills to fight corporate and governmental injustices inflicted on ordinary citizens. The team's grifter is Sophie Devereaux, with a taste for art theft and a desire to become a legitimate actress. Multi-lingual and particularly adept at the use of accents, Sophie is seen to portray many characters in various cons, usually making direct contact with marks to draw them into the con. Her skills include grifting, pickpocketing, counterfeiting and neuro-linguistic programming.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy. It is based on the idea that there is a connection between the neurological processes ("neuro"), language ("linguistic") and behavioral patterns learned through experience ("programming") and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life.
It doesn't "work".
Nevertheless, it is based on the methods of persuasion, that all advertising, cons, manipulation etc. are based on, and that works.
Scientists who study anomalistic psychology consider mediumship to be the result of fraud and psychological factors. Research from psychology for over a hundred years has revealed that where there is not fraud, mediumship and Spiritualist practices can be explained by hypnotism, magical thinking and suggestion.
"The hypnotic atmosphere of the darkened séance room and the suggestive effect of the experimenters’ social and scientific prestige could be used to explain why seemingly rational people vouchsafed occult phenomena."
Basically, if you are told that a table moved, you "remember" it moving. Even sceptics are influenced by this, as they are human beings, and all human beings react the same way.
We WILL see "evidence" of that our "beliefs" are "true", what ever our beliefs are. We WILL interpret ANYTHING to support our ideas and theories, and dismiss anything that cannot be interpreted as supporting. This is why people believing in paranormal and supernatural things will have more such experiences, and why sceptics will not.
Also, human beings are born with "magical thinking". We are aware of that sometimes things happen that don't seem to have any logical, rational, physical cause, and we like to attribute these phenomenon to "magic" or "gods" or something else like that. Supernatural and paranormal... We like that kind of things.
The medium may obtain information about their sitters by secretly eavesdropping on sitter's conversations or searching telephone directories, the internet and newspapers before the sittings. Mediums are known for employing a technique called cold reading. When put in a blind test and they can't see, hear or touch the person they are mediating for, and they don't know who this person is, they suddenly lack all the medial abilities.