Salon XXI

Thursday 14th June 2012

Salon North - The Second Instalment.

Salon North was bigger and better than ever at the St George Hotel in beautiful Harrogate. 

Elaine Fox’s one of the country’s most important Neuro Scientists, she opened the Salon with a whirlwind tour of our brains.  Whether you are optimist or pessimist has a lot to do with how you manage your fear.  She explained just why our fear response is so necessary and primal and yet can sometimes become so instinctive it can get in the way of enjoying small pleasures, the source of much of our happiness on a day-to-day basis.  You become what you read, she explained to a intrigued crowd, the more you are drawn and pay attention to negative stories and pictures the more it will inform who you are, and how optimistic or pessimistic you become.  She deconstructed the positive thinking industry, explaining positive thinking is a worthless pursuit if you are striving for happiness, new neural pathways will only form through the repeat of positive actions.  

Positive actions can include trying something out of your comfort zone, luckily our art session was all about having a go. Visual artist Susan Supercharged began with Picasso’s cubism; when you begin to think of everything you see as a cube, even the smallest scratch on paper shows how simple you can build a cubism picture ‘When in doubt, cube it out’ was Susan’s advice.  Kandinsky she explained suffered badly from synesthesia, the brain’s confusion of language, music and colour.  Playing music whilst we drew, allowed us to see if the music changed the way we drew, and finally for those extremely artistically challenged pre cut blocks of colour allowed anyone to move a few squares around and create a pretty impressive Mondrian.   There was a lighthouse and even Mondrian didn’t think of that. 

Kevin Dutton was Salon North’s closer, and what a speaker, he looks perfectly harmless in his cords and rock band hair, but, don’t believe it, he is in fact he is an arch manipulator and perverter of minds, which as a world famous academic in the field of social influence is all in a day’s work.   Years of working with conmen and psychopaths have enabled Kevin to perfect a fail-safe guide to influence and persuasion and all it takes is a little SPICE.  If you want to get your way, keep it simple, and include some perceived self-interest, incongruity, confidence and empathy.  Not sure?, Kevin selflessly tested out 500 chat up lines to find the most persuasive, and worked out a fail-safe line that will always work.  If you want to know what it is, join the Salon mailing list and we’ll send it over. 

Next Salon North: 11th and 18th July.  



  • Kevin Dutton

    Kevin Dutton

    Wisdom of Psychopaths.

    Professor Kevin Dutton was born in 1967 and is a research psychologist at the University of Oxford.   His first book, Flipnosis - The Art of Split Second Persuasion, first published in 2010 and since translated into 18 languages, . . .
  • Susan Supercharged

    Susan Supercharged

    Draw Like Picasso, Mondrian, Kandinsky.

    Susan Supercharged is a multi media artist, who studied, painted, practised and pranced on the mean streets of New York City in the 1980's before relocating to London in the 1990's. ( An interesting bit of trivia: Susan acted in a film . . .
  • Elaine Fox

    Elaine Fox

    Half empty? Half full? It's up to you.

    Elaine Fox was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and obtained her PhD in psychology and neuroscience from University College Dublin. Following 5 years teaching and researching at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, she . . .