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Home » How To Manipulate Emotions: Timon Krause (Transcript)

How To Manipulate Emotions: Timon Krause (Transcript)

Here is the full text and summary of Timon Krause’s talk titled “How To Manipulate Emotions” at TEDxFryslân conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


Thank you so much. It’s really, really interesting to me that for every single speaker that you’ve seen today, including me, as soon as we walked out of stage without anyone ever explicitly telling you to, you started applauding.

And then it’s also really interesting to me that every single speaker, including me today, walking out on stage after you applauded, said, thank you. Again, without anyone explicitly telling us to. It’s almost like that’s a conditioned response.

Now, a conditioned response means that a certain trigger or a certain stimulus, in this case, me walking out on stage, elicits a certain cue or a certain response in you. We meet these responses everywhere in life all the time. I think one of the best examples that I could think of is when you walk down the street and a certain smell comes into your nose and it takes you right back to childhood. Did you ever experience that? Is that something you know about? I think it is, right? It’s a cue response system.

Today I’ll talk about where we find these cue response systems, how they work, and more importantly, how we can make these cue response systems work for ourselves.

Now, before we get to that, I think it might be interesting and fun to actually do a quick demonstration concerning cue response systems. So let’s take a quick look. I think we’re going to have to have somebody join us up on stage and that’ll be… Fair enough. Somebody in the very, very back. Is that right? Who’s that? Oh, he’s too needy, but that’s fine. Let’s get him up on stage. Give him a round of applause. It’s going to be a long way. It’ll be a long way. Get him up on stage. Long, long way.

Fantastic. It’ll take a little while until he’s… Okay, he’s coming from all the way in the back. At some point during the talk, I will be teaching you how to elicit cue response systems yourself at will. We will get to that in a moment. I will also talk about how they work and the neurological processes behind cue response systems.

So let’s see if that dude is already walking out. I think he’s coming yet. We have an ice rink in the backstage, and as soon as he comes through, give him a round of applause. Fantastic.

How are you? I’m Timon. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Are you good? Fantastic. Tony, you good? Yeah, yeah. Amazing. Did you enjoy the talk so far? Yeah, yeah. Yes. And did you have… Inspiring. Really inspiring. And did you have a good day today? Sure, for sure. Amazing.

Tony, can you do me a favor and maybe think back to a moment from last week or the last few days that made you happy, something that made you feel really good?

Tony: When I was reading about marketing, the function of marketing in the computer, in the IE, the…

Fantastic. That is already good enough. It’s good enough for me. Now, Tony, being a marketer, come up to the front. Being a marketer, you already obviously know about conditioning, don’t you? You might. I’ll explain it to you. I’m not sure if you realize, but every time since you’ve been on stage and you smiled or said, yes, I touched your arm, did you notice this? Yes. It’s strange, isn’t it? Put your hand out, Tony. Put your hand out.

Just realize what happens in your mind that you might go blank. When we go back up there and you… The memory might be linked to the spot in your mind. Just realize what happens when we go up your arm and we touch that arm. Can you feel the happiness coming back in you? I can.

Does it feel good? It’s a conditioned response. It’s a neurological response. The cool thing, Tony, is that you can do this yourself as well. Would you like me to show you? Of course. Extend your hands. Perfect. Move your own hand up there. Go ahead. And move it slowly up there. And just realize that when you touch that arm, it comes right back to you, doesn’t it? Just touch that arm. How does that feel? Weird.

It feels weird but good enough, yeah? I think it’s good enough. Give him a round of applause. Get your seat. Thank you, Tony. Fantastic. I think that was good for a quick demonstration. Thank you, Tony.

Now I’m seeing some of you thinking, what the heck did we just see? What just happened? What we just did was a very, very quick and very brief demonstration of conditioned response in action. The first time I got into investigating conditioned response was when I was 12 years old and I saw a hypnosis show being played at a holiday park.

And to me, seeing that hypnosis show was the most magical thing I had ever seen. And it was the moment that I decided that I wanted to become a hypnotist or a mentalist or a magician. I went on that path. I went to write some people to learn about hypnosis or mentalism or mind reading and everybody thought that at 12 years old, I was too young to do that.

So I did what any 12-year-old would do. I started teaching myself. And I copied exactly what I saw on stage and took it from there. I think there was more luck involved than actual skill, but I made it through. At 16 years old, I went to New Zealand. I found a mentor. He helped me write my very first book on hypnosis, which got me in touch with people all around the world. I then got to be awarded the title of best European mentalist last year and finally got to fulfill my dream to play in Las Vegas for the very first time last year as well. And that was amazing. It was really cool.

Now I’m not going to talk to you about the drive or the inspiration or the love that I have for that. And it is a love. It’s in fact so much of a love that I have my logo, which stands for the love for magic tattooed onto my wrist because it’s the one thing I love most in life. Because I think there’s people that will talk about inspiration way better than I.

But I will talk to you about the one tool that I have used that has done me well over the last 11 years time and time again, which is anchoring or conditioned response. I think the best definition I can give you of anchoring or conditioned response would be an anchor refers to any specific cue that elicits a predictable response. A predictable response means that it repeats itself.

Now if I were to ask some of you if you feel like having a coffee right now, some of you might say yes. Some of you might say no. Ten minutes from now this might be different. It’s not a predictable response. It’s not conditioned. But a person that’s maybe hugely afraid of spiders, as soon as they see the cue, the stimulus of a spider, their response will predictably be fear. That’s what it means for it to be a predictable or conditioned response.

When I first encountered this concept, I thought, great, it’s good for me to know that there are specific cues that trigger specific responses, but what good does it if I can’t control those cues? I will let you in on two secrets about conditioning.

The first one is that if you know the correct trigger, you can elicit any response in yourself or others that you wish. And some of you already know this. I’m sure there must be people in the audience right now maybe wearing a special piece of clothing that makes you feel sexy, and it makes you therefore feel confident.

Or maybe some of you put on a piece of jewelry that you consider to be a lucky charm. I put on my lucky socks. They have pucks on them because I love pucks, and they make me feel really happy. And all these things really are are certain cues that trigger a specific response in you. Does it make sense? So you already know that you can trigger these responses.

The second secret, and this is where it gets really cool, is that you can set up, create new trigger response systems at will. Again, I hear you thinking, that’s great, but how do we do that? Now, before we get into the how that works, let’s talk real quickly about why that works.

And it works due to two mental slides, if you want, two slides of mind that your brain is capable of doing, the first one of which being pattern recognition. Pattern recognition, we’ll get to that in a moment. Pattern recognition means that your brain is able to learn from past experiences and then to apply this learned behavior to new, similar situations. Basically, what this means is that pattern recognition helps us not make the same mistakes twice.

There’s a reason for this. It’s an evolutionary reason. When you think about maybe your caveman ancestors running into a ferocious cat and they’re barely escaping with their lives, it would now be good for the brain to make the leap that when next time they enter a similar situation, they meet a similar cat, they don’t want to go cuddle it, but they apply the learned knowledge and realize that it’s not a good idea to go near. That’s what pattern recognition is.

It’s also how anchoring or conditioning works. In anchoring and conditioning, we enter a situation, we get a specific cue, and this cue will elicit a specific response. The cue could be anything, me saying something, it could be a smell, it could be a jewelry you put on. It elicits a response, and depending on if that situation plays out well for you, positive effect.

Next time around, you get a strengthened, positive response to the same or a similar cue, or if it plays out negatively next time, you get a reduced or weakened negative response to the cue, effectively driving you away from similar situations. Does it make sense? I think it does, yes.

It’s also the reason that at some point, only imagining an anchor is enough, and we’ll get to that. The second slide of mind that our brain is capable of doing is called action imagery. It’s research, and I think this is one of the most fascinating pieces of research ever done by Dr. David Hamilton.

Dr. David Hamilton had a group of people over the course of several weeks practice a very simple piano song. Once he was sure that these people had really hammered that song in there, he took them into his laboratory, and he took a brain scan while these people were playing their simple set of notes. That’s the boring part.

The fascinating part happened right after, because he took another brain scan, this time, however, asking the people to only imagine that they were playing the same thing. The really cool thing is that if you held up both brain scans next to each other, just from looking at them, there was no way to distinguish which brain scan was taken when they actually played the song, and which brain scan was taken when they merely imagined playing the song.

What this tells us is that in our brain, there is no essential difference between having an actual experience or vividly imagining it, and that’s exactly what will enable us to create anchors for ourselves. Let’s get to that. Again, how do we do that? There’s a simple plan I devised for you, a five-step anchoring plan to doing this yourself.

The first step that we will always want to take when we set up a new cue response system for ourselves is to decide on a stimulus and a state. The state could be the emotion that you want to anchor, maybe happiness, or confidence, or focus, or concentration. For the sake of demonstration, we will do this together in a moment.

Let’s say that the cue, the trigger that we will use, is going to be this, placing your thumb and your forefinger together like this. Do it with me. Place your thumb and forefinger together. Fantastic, like you did it before. Amazing technique. Love it. Very well done.

The response to this state, the response to this trigger will be, I think, happiness is a good one. That’s generally accepted to be a good state of mind to be in, isn’t it? I think that will be good. Happiness will be the response.

The next step you will want to take is to vividly imagine this state. The simplest way I found of doing that is to find two or three, better three, memories where that state is prominent. We just did that when we had our volunteer on stage with one single memory. Two or three memories are going to be better. If you’re not already thinking about it, please start finding two or three memories where you felt happy. They could be really prominent. They could be fresh. They could be spectacular. It could be something as simple as that you really like to sandwich this morning. It could be something very straightforward. But wherever the emotion of happiness is prominent, that’s going to be good for this.

Step number three is going to be to step inside this daydream. This is where you’re going to utilize your brain’s ability to imitate a real experience. I’ll walk you through the script in a moment. Once you’re there and once by stepping inside your daydream, you pump that emotion up to as high as you possibly can. In that very moment, you will apply your stimulus, essentially training yourself to respond to this stimulus with the state that you want to respond that way.

All that’s left afterwards is to test, use, and enjoy your anchor. We’ll do that together. So if you’re ready, if you found two or three memories to do this with, let’s go. Close your eyes for me. I’m not going to punch you. Just close your eyes for a moment. Trust me on this, okay? Fantastic.

Take your first memory, and this could be the stronger memory or it could be the first one that comes up in your mind. And when you have that, then focus on the visual aspect of that memory. What do you see? Where are you? Who’s with you? And try and go into the details a little bit in your mind.

And from there, shift your focus to the auditive aspect of that memory. Listen to what you heard. Words, environmental sounds, your own heartbeat, breathing. And from there, shift it again to what you smell. There might have been good smells or bad smells, prominent smells, subtle smells.

And when you’re already at it, go to what you could taste. And maybe there was no specific taste in your mind right now, and if that’s the case, then be aware of that as well. And from there, one more time, shift your focus to what you could feel, just the physical feeling, position of your body, exhaustion, energy, touch, temperature, clothing, any of those things will do.

And from there, shift your focus to what you could feel inside, that emotion. Notice where in your body it starts and allow it to grow stronger with every breath you take. Give it a color, if you can, and make the color brighter. Make it move through your body quicker and quicker. Allow it to grow into your hands, your fingers, your legs, into your toes, up into the tips of your hair, into your face. If you want to smile, you can smile. That’s absolutely fine.

And in a moment, I’m going to count from three to zero. And with each number that I count, I’d like you to let that emotion grow stronger and stronger, as strongly as you possibly can. And once we are at zero, do your anchor movement, thumbs and forefingers for three seconds, then release and keep your eyes closed. We will do one more memory afterwards. That’ll be three.

Allow that memory to grow stronger and stronger. Allow it to curse through your body. Allow that smile to spread onto your face. That’ll be two, making it grow warmer and warmer, harder and harder throughout your body. That’ll be one. Get ready to press, and zero. Press your anchor together for three seconds, two, one, release. Close your eyes and let go. Fantastic. You’re doing amazingly well. I can see so many of you smiling right now. It looks really good.

We’ll go to the second memory. We’ll go through this one a little more quickly, because you already know what’s about to happen. Second memory, take a look at the visual aspect of your memory. What did you see? Where are you? Day or night, details, people around you, location.

Then go to what you heard. Maybe words being spoken, heartbeat, breathing, and what you smelled. Good smells, bad smells, subtle smells, intrusive smells. And from there, once again, shift to what you could taste. And if there’s no specific taste, then be aware of that as well.

And once you’ve done all those things and you reconstructed your memory bit by bit, once you’ve done all those things, go to what you felt in your body, just a physical feeling, physical sensation of temperature, movement, position. And once you’ve got that, once again, notice where in your body that emotion of happiness is located. Notice where it starts and allow it to grow stronger with each moment that you’re listening to me, with each breath that you’re taking, allowing it to curse through your body more and more. Get ready. In a moment, I’m again going to count from three to zero.

And again, with each number that you hear me count, allow that emotion to grow higher and higher. And once we arrive at zero, press your thumbs and your forefinger together once more to condition yourself to that stimulus and that response. That’ll be three. Allow that memory to grow stronger and stronger through your body, into every aspect of your body and being.

That’ll be two. Allow it to grow more and more. And one, and zero. Put your hands together. Fantastic. That’s looking good. Three, two, one, and release, and let go, and open your eyes and shake it off. Fantastic. It was already worth it to me to just do this for seeing so many of you smile. Really cool. Very well done.

We’re missing one last step. And by the way, if you want to do this at home for any other emotion than happiness, focus or concentration, on the TEDx website or TEDxFreeslunt website, we have provided this very script for you to use and enjoy. You can do this with other people. You can do this with yourself. You can set more than one single anchor.

The last thing we need to do is to test and use the anchor. So let’s do a quick test for the anchor. Maybe all of you, let your minds go blank, and give yourself a scaling from one to ten at where you would rate your happiness right now. Maybe one means I’m just about to leave, and ten means I’m really, really very happy. Let your mind go blank. It might be three or four. It might be somewhere in the neutral, I’m happy every day kind of vibe.

So give yourself a rating for that. How happy are you right now? And then in a moment, we’re going to use the anchor together from three to zero. In a moment, we will use this together. And at zero, you will press your anchor together. You’ll do this for ten seconds, and you will do your very best to bring that emotion of happiness up again. And we will test it again where you are right now.

So if you have a rating in mind, close your eyes. Get ready to do your anchor. This is the test. I will count from three to zero. On the count of zero, put your anchor together. You get ten seconds to bring that emotion up as highly as you can. That will be three, two, one. Press your anchor together, and ten seconds, nine, allow that emotion to grow, grow, grow, grow, seven, six, five, allow it to grow more and more throughout your body, four, three, two, one. Let go and release.

Fantastically done. The more often you do this, the stronger it will actually get. And just test yourself against that. Check again on a scale from one to ten. How happy are you? And if you are, after doing your anchor, even only one or two or three points happier, raise your hand for me. I want to see this. Who feels happier? And that’s quite a lot of you. And that, for you, is how you create an emotion or happiness, literally, at the push of a button.

Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be with you. Thank you.


In Timon Krause’s thought-provoking talk titled “How To Manipulate Emotions,” he explores the fascinating world of conditioned responses, anchoring, and how individuals can consciously influence their own emotions. Throughout the talk, Krause provides valuable insights and practical techniques, summarized in key takeaway points:

1. Conditioned Responses: Krause begins by drawing attention to the phenomenon of conditioned responses. He highlights how people instinctively applaud when a speaker enters the stage or say “thank you” when appreciated, illustrating that specific triggers or stimuli can elicit predetermined reactions.

2. Understanding Conditioned Responses: Krause explains that conditioned responses occur when a particular stimulus consistently leads to a specific response. This is a fundamental aspect of human behavior and can be found in various aspects of life.

3. Neurological Processes: Krause delves into the neurological processes behind conditioned responses, emphasizing two critical aspects: pattern recognition and action imagery. Pattern recognition helps individuals learn from past experiences and apply that knowledge to new situations, while action imagery allows the brain to vividly simulate experiences.

4. Anchoring Plan: Krause introduces a five-step anchoring plan that individuals can use to create their own conditioned responses:

   – Choose Stimulus and Emotional State: Decide on a stimulus (e.g., a hand gesture) and an emotional state (e.g., happiness) you want to anchor.

   – Recall Happy Memories: Recall two or three vivid memories associated with the chosen emotional state.

   – Intensify Emotion: Step inside one of these memories, intensify the associated emotion, and simultaneously apply the chosen stimulus.

   – Test the Anchor: Verify the effectiveness of the anchor by using the stimulus to trigger the desired emotional state.

   – Repetition: Repeating the process strengthens the conditioned response over time.

5. Manipulating Emotions: Krause emphasizes that individuals can use the anchoring technique to manipulate their own emotions consciously. By practicing this method regularly, one can induce positive emotional states at will, improving their emotional well-being.

6. Real-time Demonstration: To illustrate his points, Krause engages the audience in a live demonstration involving a volunteer named Tony. He demonstrates how he can use conditioning to evoke positive emotions, such as happiness, in Tony by touching his arm while discussing happy memories.

7. Action Imagery: Krause highlights the fascinating concept of action imagery. He shares a study where individuals were asked to imagine playing a simple piano song, and brain scans revealed no significant difference between those who played it physically and those who only imagined it. This underscores the power of mental imagery in conditioning responses.

8. Practical Exercise: In the final part of his talk, Krause leads the audience through a practical exercise. Attendees are encouraged to use their anchors to induce happiness by recalling happy memories and applying their chosen stimulus. The immediate results demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique.

9. Personal Growth: Krause’s talk offers practical tools for personal growth and emotional well-being. By understanding the psychology of emotions and harnessing the power of conditioned responses, individuals can actively shape their emotional states and improve their overall quality of life.

10. Accessible Resources: Krause provides information on where to find the anchoring script and resources for practicing this technique on the TEDx website, making it accessible for anyone interested in exploring and applying these concepts.

In summary, Timon Krause’s talk on manipulating emotions through conditioned responses and anchoring provides valuable insights into the human psyche and offers a practical roadmap for individuals to enhance their emotional well-being and take control of their emotions. Through understanding and applying these techniques, people can lead more fulfilling and happier lives.

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