||This article possibly contains original research. (October 2013)|
A pickup artist is a man who trains in the skills and art of finding, attracting, and seducing women. Such a man purportedly abides by a certain system deemed effective by that community in his attempts to seduce women.
The use of pickup in this context, slang for making a casual acquaintance with a stranger in anticipation of sexual relations, dates from at least World War II, as attested by antiprostitution posters. The phrase was also popularized by the 1970 book How to Pick Up Girls by Eric Weber, Pick-Up Times, a short-lived 1970s magazine, and the 1987 semi-autobiographical romantic comedy The Pick-up Artist, written and directed by James Toback. More recent works of pickup artist culture include Neil Strauss's book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, and the 2007 VH1 reality television series, The Pickup Artist, starring the pickup artist Mystery (Erik von Markovik). The pickup artist Roosh V has self-published 14 books describing techniques for seducing women.  According to Salon, such books are the "cash cow" of the pickup industry.
The term pickup artist is also associated with the seduction community, a heterosexual male subculture which strives to improve sexual and romantic abilities with women. Routines and gambits are developed to stimulate purported "attraction switches," often combined with techniques derived from an alleged form of hypnosis called neuro-linguistic programming. Members aim to improve their seductive capabilities through the development of various lifestyles. The culture surrounding pickup has spawned an entire industry servicing those who want to improve their social and seduction skills with consultations and in-field training.
Pickup artists receive mixed to negative responses from the press and general public, with many regarding both the practice and theory as immoral, sexist and ineffective. Pickup artists have also been parodied, as in the March 2011 The Scott Mills Show. BBC Radio 1 debated Neil Strauss' The Game on many shows.
Pickup is often divided into different styles, referred to as "outergame," "innergame," "direct game," and "indirect game." 
Criticism of purported scientific basis of techniques
Published pickup artist methods frequently claim to be scientifically based; that is, they claim to provide empirically-tested observations about the nature of human sexuality, and ways for the student to use that knowledge to increase his success in dating. (Each method claims that using the techniques propounded by its author pickup is on average more effective than not using them in attempting to seduce women.) However, the claims of pickup artists are not made in peer-reviewed psychological or social science journals, and are not subject to rigorous evaluation in the manner required within the academic world. Central figures in the pickup artist community such as Mystery and Neil Strauss have no formal training in psychology or the methodologies of the social sciences.
The use of techniques derived from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is widely advocated in pickup artist literature, both in print form and online. NLP is widely regarded as a pseudoscience by academic and professional psychologists; psychiatrist Roderique Davis has called it "cargo-cult psychology." Psychologist Dr. Petra Boynton has stated that that there is "no evidence of effectiveness" for any claims of pickup artists.
- "Them days is gone forever", Media library (poster), University of Minnesota.
- "If you want to drop bombs to the set of the rising Sun…", Media library (poster), University of Minnesota
- Weber, Eric (1970), How to Pick Up Girls (1st ed.), Tenafly, NJ, USA: Symphony Press.
- Strauss (2005), pp. 124, 144.
- Jule Banville, "Blogger Stud Living in Dad’s Basement, Writing Second Book on How to Get Laid", "Washington City Paper", 2008
- Lu, Peter (2011-09-20). "Simple Pickup: Are these the greatest pickup artists of all time?". Salon.com. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
- Tom Chivers (14 January 2010). "Pick-up artists, online seduction and dating tips". UK: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- "Radio 1". UK: The BBC.
- Chivers, Tom (14 January 2010). "Pick-up artists, online seduction and dating tips". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Berkowitz, A. (11 August 2007). "Single Files: You, too, can be a pickup artist".[dead link] Times Herald-Record. Retrieved on 20 August 2007.
- Getches, Catherine (2 July 2002). "The original pick-up artist". Salon.com. Retrieved on 25 August 2007.
- Mapes, Diane (15 August 2007). "The Singles File: Is 'The Game' reduced to target and ambush?". Seattle Post-Intelligence. Retrieved on 20 August 2007.