Telepathy - The induction of
mental states from one mind to another
the Greek τηλε, tele meaning
"distant" and πάθη, pathe meaning
"affliction, experience"), The term was coined in
1882 by the classical scholar Fredric
W. H. Myers,
a founder of the Society for Psychical Research, and has somehow
remained more popular than the more-correct expression thought-transference. Many studies
seeking to detect, understand, and utilize telepathy have been done within this
field. The scientific community does not regard telepathy as a real phenomenon
as actual telepathy has never been demonstrated to a greater degree than pure
chance under controlled experimental conditions.
Telepathy is a common
theme in modern fiction and science fiction, with many superheroes andsupervillains having telepathic
abilities. In more recent times, neuroimaging has
allowed researchers to actually perform early forms of mind
of the concept
According to Roger
Luckhurst, the origin of the concept of telepathy (not
telepathy itself) in the Western civilization can be tracked to the late 19th
century. In his view, science did not frequently concern itself with "the
mind" prior to this. As the physical sciences made significant advances,
scientific concepts were applied to mental phenomena (e.g., animal magnetism), with the hope that this would help
understand paranormal phenomena. The
modern concept of telepathy emerged in this historical context.
The notion of telepathy
is dissimilar to two psychological concepts: delusions of thought
insertion/removal and psychological symbiosis. This similarity might explain how some
people have come up with the idea of telepathy. Thought insertion/removal is a
symptom of psychosis, particularly of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Psychiatric patients
who experience this symptom falsely believe that some of their thoughts are not
their own and that others (e.g., other people, aliens, or conspiring
intelligence agencies) are putting thoughts into their minds (thought
insertion). Some patients feel as if thoughts are being taken out of their
minds or deleted (thought removal). Along with other symptoms of psychosis,
delusions of thought insertion may be reduced by antipsychotic
on the other hand, is a less well established concept. It is an idea found in
the writings of early psychoanalysts, such as Melanie Klein. It entails the belief that in the early
psychological experience of the child (during earliest infancy), the child is
unable to tell the difference between his or her own mind, on one hand, and his
or her experience of the mother/parent, on the other hand. This state of mind
is called psychological symbiosis; with development, it ends, but, purportedly,
aspects of it can still be detected in the psychological functioning of the
adult. Putatively, the experience of either thought insertion/removal or
unconscious memories of psychological symbiosis may have led to the invention
of "telepathy" as a notion and the belief that telepathy exists.
Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists believe and empirical findings support
the idea that people with schizotypal personality disorder are particularly likely
to believe in telepathy.
Within the field
of parapsychology, telepathy is
considered to be a form of extra-sensory
which information is transferred through Psi. It is often categorized similarly
to precognition and clairvoyance. Various
experiments have been used to test for telepathic abilities. Among the most
well known are the use of Zener cards and
the Ganzfeld experiment.
Zener cards are cards
marked with five distinctive symbols. When using them, one individual is
designated the "sender" and another the "receiver". The
sender must select a random card and visualize the symbol on it, while the
receiver must attempt to determine that symbol using Psi. Statistically, the
receiver has a 20% chance of randomly guessing the correct symbol, so in order
to demonstrate telepathy, they must repeatedly score a success rate that is
significantly higher than 20%. If not conducted
properly, this method can be vulnerable to sensory leakage and card counting.
When using the Ganzfeld
experiment to test for telepathy, one individual is designated
the receiver and is placed inside a controlled environment where they are deprived
of sensory input,
and another is designated the sender and is placed in a separate location. The
receiver is then required to receive information from the sender. The exact
nature of the information may vary between experiments.
Parapsychology describes several different forms of
telepathy, including latent telepathy and precognitive telepathy.
formerly known as "deferred telepathy", is described as being the transfer of information,
through Psi, with an observable time-lag between transmission and receipt.
Precognitive, and Intuitive Telepathy is described as being the transfer
of information, through Psi, about the past, future or present state of an
individual's mind to another individual.
also known as remote influence  or emotional
transfer, is the process of transferring kinesthetic sensations through altered
involves tapping into the superconscious  to access the
collective wisdom of the human species for knowledge.
Although not a
recognized scientific discipline, people who study certain types of paranormal phenomena such as telepathy refer to
the field asparapsychology. Parapsychologists
claim that some instances of telepathy are real. Skeptics say that
instances of apparent telepathy are explained as the result of fraud, self-delusion
and/or self-deception and that telepathy
does not exist as a paranormal power.
skeptics agree that many of the instances of more popular psychic phenomena,
such as mediumism, can be
attributed to non-paranormal techniques such as cold reading. Magicians such
as Ian Rowland and Derren Brown have
demonstrated techniques and results similar to those of popular psychics,
without paranormal means. They have identified, described, and developed
psychological techniques of cold reading and hot reading.
A technique which shows
statistically significant evidence of telepathy on every occasion has yet to be
discovered. This lack of reliable reproducibility has led skeptics to argue
that there is no credible scientific evidence for the existence of telepathy at
all. Skeptics also
point to historical cases in which flaws in experimental design and occasional
cases of fraud were uncovered. Parapsychologists
such as Dean Radin, president of the Parapsychological Association, argue that the statistical
significance and consistency of results shown by a meta-analysis of numerous studies provides
evidence for telepathy that is almost impossible to account for using any other
Telepathy is commonly
used in fiction, with a number of superheroes and supervillains, as well as figures in many science fiction
novels, etc., use telepathy. Notable fictional telepaths include the Jedi in Star Wars. The mechanics of telepathy in fiction
vary widely. Some fictional telepaths are limited to receiving only thoughts
that are deliberately sent by other telepaths, or even to receiving thoughts
from a specific other person. For example, in Robert A. Heinlein's 1956 novel Time for the Stars, certain pairs of twins
are able to send telepathic messages to each other. Some telepaths can read the
thoughts only of those they touch, such as Vulcans in the Star Trek media franchise and Aro, a vampire
Meyer's book New
Star Trek science consultant and writer André Bormanis, has revealed that telepathy within the
Star Trek universe works via the "psionic field." According to
Bormanis, a psionic field is the "medium" through which unspoken
thoughts and feelings are communicated through space. Some humanoids can tap into this
field through a kind of sense organ located in the brain; in the same manner
sense portions of the electromagnetic field, telepaths can sense
portions of the psionic field. In the book "Eragon", Eragon can
communicate through his mind with almost anyone, including his dragon Saphira,
but it is possible to block people from your mind with a barrier.In the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, telepathy is a magical skill known
In the John Wyndham novel The Chrysalids, the main character and narrator David
Strorm is one of a group of nine telepaths. In Anthony Horowitz's Power of Five series twinsJamie and Scott Tyler were born with telepathic powers
that enable them to read people's minds and, ultimately, control them. They
always know each other's thoughts, which earns them money doing tricks at a
circus in Reno, Nevada, USA.
Some writers view
telepathy as the evolutionary destiny of humanity. In Tony Vigorito's
novel, Just a Couple of Days, telepathy emerges
across the entire human species as a result of the Pied Piper Virus, which
inadvertently eliminates humanity's symbolic capacity. In this instance,
telepathy is seen as a latent ability that emerges only when the distractions
of language are bypassed.
Some fictional telepaths
possess mind control abilities, which
can include "pushing" thoughts, feelings, or hallucinatory visions
into the mind of another person, causing pain, paralysis, or unconsciousness,
altering or erasing memories, or completely taking over another person's mind
and body (similar to spiritual
Examples of this type of telepath include the Carpathians from the novels in
as well as Professor Xavier, Psylocke, Jean Grey and the White Queen from Marvel Comics. Characters with this ability may or may
not also have the ability to read thoughts. The film Scanners concerns around people born with
this kind of telepathic as well as telekinetic abilities.
The Urdu novel "Devta"
is based on the character of Farhad Ali Taimur, a telepath involved in the fight
of good and evil.
mental connections (occasionally seen as a form of 'telepathy' as in the
following section, but not usually described using this word) are also present
in science fiction, often involving the usage of neural implants of some
description. For example, Robert Silverberg's 1971 story Tower of Glass features a technology called a
"shunt room" where participants wearing "shunt helmets" are
able to probe one another's thoughts, feelings and memories. Another example is
the Conjoiners in the Revelation Space series by Alastair Reynolds. Conjoiners rely on their technological
telepathy (referred to by them as "Transenlightenment") to the extent
that they no longer actually speak. Certain Conjoiners are able to read, attack
and control the minds of other Conjoiners and machines (though not standard
humans) using digital attacks, often having similar effects to other telepaths
in fiction. More generally, the concept of technological mental connections
quite often features in science fiction stories featuring group
such as the Borg in Star Trek.
See also a
of fictional characters with telepathy.
See also: Thought
Converging Technologies, a 2002 report
exploring the potential for synergy among nano-, bio-, informational and
cognitive technologies (NBIC) for enhancing human performance.
occasionally referred to by themselves or others as "transhumanists", believe that technologically enabled
telepathy, coined "techlepathy", "synthetic
telepathy", or "psychotronics",will be the inevitable
future of humanity. Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading, England is one of the leading proponents of this view
and has based all of his recent cybernetics research around developing
technology for directly connecting human nervous systems together with computers
and with each other. He believes techno-enabled telepathy will in the future
become the primary form of human communication.
§ Abhijna, the Buddhist "higher knowledges", the
third of which is "Mind-penetrating knowledge".
§ Alice Bailey
§ Body language or kinesics, another form of paralinguistics.
§ Extended mind, the concept that
things frequently used by the mind become part of it.
§ Lady Wonder, a horse that appeared to answer
§ List of parapsychology topics
§ Magnetoencephalography, measuring the magnetic
fields produced by electrical activity in the brain.
§ Mentalist, claims to manipulate
and change spiritual reality.
§ Morphic resonance
§ Neural oscillation, a concept measured as brain waves.
§ Precognition, a form of extra-sensory perception
involving seeing future events.
§ Quantum pseudo-telepathy, apparent telepathy as
a result of quantum entanglement.
§ Velostat, a purported insulator.
1. ^ a b c Carroll, Robert
Todd (2005). "The Skeptic's Dictionary;
SkepDic.com. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
2. ^ Following the
model of sympathy and empathy.
3. ^ a b c d Glossary of Parapsychological terms - Telepathy —Parapsychological Association. Retrieved December 19, 2006.
4. ^ Luckhurst, R.
(2002). The Invention of Telepathy, 1870-1901. Oxford University Press.
5. ^ Pickup, G. (2006).
Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Volume 11, Number 2, Number 2/March 2006 , pp.
6. ^ Glossary of Parapsychological terms - ESP, Parapsychological Association. Retrieved December 19, 2006.
7. ^ a b Carroll, Robert
(2006-02-17). "Zener ESP Cards". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 2006-07-18.
8. ^ a b The
Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by Dean I. Radin
Harper Edge, ISBN 0-06-251502-0
9. ^ Rennie, John
(1845), "Test for Telepathy", Scientific American,V3#1 (1847-09-25)
10. ^ Plazo, Dr. Joseph
R., (2002) "Psychic Seduction." pp.112-114 ISBN 0-9785922-3-9
11. ^ St. Claire,
David., (1989) "Instant ESP." pp.40-50
12. ^ "What is parapsychology?" From the FAQ of
the website of the Parapsychological Association. Retrieved February 3, 2007.
13. ^ "What is the state-of-the-evidence for psi?" From the FAQ of
the website of the Parapsychological Association. Retrieved February 3, 2007.
14. ^ Skepdic.com
Retrieved February 22, 2007.
15. ^ Eberhard
Bauer: Criticism and Controversy in
Parapsychology - An Overview[dead
link]. European Journal of
Parapsychology (1984), 5, 141-166. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
16. ^ O',Keeffe, Ciarán
and Wiseman Richard: Testing alleged mediumship: Methods
British Journal of Psychology (2005), 96, 165–17.
17. ^ Rowland, Ian: The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading
18. ^ a b See for examples,
Randi, James. Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and
Prometheus Books (June 1982)ISBN 0879751983 or
Charpak, Georges and Henri Broch. Translated by Bart K. Holland.Debunked!:
ESP, Telekinesis, and Other Pseudoscience. The Johns Hopkins University Press
(March 25, 2004), ISBN 0801878675
19. ^ André Bormanis discusses telepathy in
20. ^ Dvorsky, George
(2004). "Evolving Towards
Betterhumans.com. Retrieved 2006-10-24.
21. ^ TakeAway Media
(2000). "Leviathan: Back to the Future:
An interview with Kevin Warwick". BBC Two. Retrieved 2006-10-24.
Physicist Nick Herbert Ponders Instantaneous Communication
§ Primary Quantum Model of Telepathy (PDF)
§ Soal-Goldney Experiment - a critical evaluation of the
Soal-Goldney Experiment, which claimed to prove the existence of telepathy
§ Dream and Telepathy - article in
Science and Psychoanalysis
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