is a writer and entertainer who lives in South Croydon, just outside London
. He is the author of The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading
. Cold reading
is a set of psychological techniques that have many applications. Most commonly, someone pretending to have psychic
ability can use cold reading techniques to talk to a customer in such a way as to create the impression of having psychic ability. He regularly gives lectures where he debunks paranormal
He was featured in the 1996 Channel 4 documentary Break The Science Barrier with Richard Dawkins, where he showed various tricks, as he performs them in his lectures as an illusionist. He claimed to be able to recreate all the abilities shown by self-professed psychics, without having to resort to any supernatural or paranormal explanations.
On the ABC TV magazine Primetime, Rowland fooled a volunteer audience into thinking he could communicate with the dead. He is also a regular contributor to the Straight Dope Message Board under the user name ianzin.
Citing Rowland's recitation of the tricks of "astrologers and psychics," journalist Malcolm Gladwell has blasted the practice of offender profiling by the FBI.