The Traitors: How to apply for (and win) the TV show that everyone is talking about

It’s the gameshow everyone is talking about, but do you have what it takes to win The Traitors?

In the murder-mystery-style psychology game, hosted by Claudia Winkleman, 22 strangers play to win up to £120,000 at a Scottish castle.

Last year, the first series of the show very quickly became a hit show was watched by an average of 5.4 million viewers across the country.

Series two is now bringing equally as big crowds.

But do you think you would make a good Traitor? How to enter:

Applications for series two were more than double that received for series one.

Now a call for contestants has gone out that reads: ‘We are looking for smart, funny and strategic people to take part in the ultimate game of trust and treachery for a significant cash prize.’

It adds ‘Do you have what it takes to catch a Traitor? Or would you betray a Faithful in order to win?’ Get them before they get you!’

Click here to apply.

Here, experts share what it’ll really take.

The ability to adapt to a new role

For Dr Dean Fido, an associate professor in forensic psychology at the University of Derby, a good traitor needs to be someone who can embody the ‘in’ group – also known as the Faithfuls, “in terms of how they speak, behave, and react to the situations that they face (e.g nominations and discussions about Traitors)”.

He adds: “But in the beginning, for someone who is not a ‘Traitor’ in their day-to-day life, there can be an uphill battle in learning how to behave in such a way. The first few episodes of the show would be where the Faithfuls are best placed to identify inconsistencies and Traitors because of the adjusting to their new roles.”

To be a ‘good Traitor’, you’ll have to be able to adapt quickly and learn to take the perspectives of others, he explained. “You will also have to behave in ways that allow you to overcome the empathic feelings that you might have for betraying and lying to others.”

Harry, king of the splinter group on ‘The Traitors’

(BBC/Studio Lambert)

You don’t need a lot of acting skill

“To succeed, you don’t necessarily need to be a ‘good actor’, but instead have a cool head, be adaptable, and be able to respond to unexpected and developing situations (traits commonly seen in surgeons and soldiers),” said Fido.

“Such traits will allow you to appear like one of the in-group and ensure that you don’t stand out (but you should want to be able to mirror the behaviours of others in times where panic and pressure do set in for the whole group).”

Fido goes on to explain that you wouldn’t only need to be able to lie to those you are close with, but you would need to do this consistently – for the duration of a series.

“People are quick to recognise discrepancies with stories (which we often try to over-elaborate on) and it becomes difficult for us to remember made-up details that we say; this might reflect stories changing slightly each time they are told,” he said.

“Moreover, this becomes harder in a scenario such as Traitors whereby you are acting as a traitorous group and not as an individual – you lose control of your success and become reliant on others.”

Paul from the current series of The Traitors

(BBC / The Traitors)

Identify the psychological conflicts that could occur

According to psychologist Nova Cobban, if you want to be a good traitor it’s key to remember the difference between being a traitor on a show and a traitor in real life. Sometimes when we forge genuine bonds with people it is very hard to keep firm psychological boundaries in your mind, she said.

“You can prepare by knowing the psychological conflicts that are likely to come up and practice building resilience towards these conflicts beforehand.

“Some of the conflicts you are likely to experience are playing the role of a Traitor in a game show can lead to various psychological conflicts, both within yourself and with other players.”

But what are some of the common conflicts and how can you handle them?

“Guilt is probably an obvious one and the hardest to prepare for,” she said. “If you are deceiving others to win a game that you all know you are in, or deceiving them in real life, it feels the same.

“It’s therefore key to strengthen your mind with consistent reminders that everyone signed up for deception at the start and you are playing your part in the game so the game can continue for everyone.

“The pressure of maintaining a facade (and the constant fear of being caught) can of course be very stressful. It’s stressful for all participants though and emotions will be running high. Take time out whenever you can to breathe, to relax and to come back to why you decided to take part.”

You can’t play a game like Traitors without experiencing some conflict along the way though, she explained – “either internal conflict or conflict between players, or most likely both”.

So if you were ever to be a Traitor, and aren’t good at handling conflict, you may want to learn some simple techniques beforehand.

To be a ‘good Traitor’, you need to be able to adapt quickly. (Ian West/PA)

Be emotionally intelligent

“The most successful Traitors show a high level of emotional intelligence, they come across as warm, personable, caring and as attentive team players. They also show authenticity and a touch of vulnerability,” said Emma Serlin, founder of the London Speech Workshop.

“Everything, what they say (reasonable, attentive), their body language (warm, open, guileless) and how they say it (warm easy tones) demonstrates that they are decent, good people you can trust.”

Use of eye contact

“Direct lying is when you state something that absolutely is not the truth. If you add eye contact to that, it is intensified,” said Serlin.

“But it’s important that the eyes are not hooded or veiled but are open and have a sense of genuine intent to make the other person believe you – so ‘wide eyes’ help.”


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