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Template:Infobox paranormal term Telepathy (from the Greek τηλε, tele meaning "distant" and πάθη, pathe meaning "affliction, experience")[1] is the supposed transmission of information from one person to another without using any of our known sensory channels or physical interaction. The term was coined in 1882 by the classical scholar Frederic W. H. Myers,[2] a founder of the Society for Psychical Research,[3] and has remained more popular than the earlier expression thought-transference.[3][4]

Scientific consensus does not view telepathy as a real phenomenon. Many studies seeking to detect, understand, and utilize telepathy have been done, but according to the prevailing view among scientists, telepathy lacks replicable results from well-controlled experiments.[5][6]

Telepathy is a common theme in modern fiction and science fiction, with many superheroes and supervillains having telepathic abilities. In more recent times, neuroimaging has allowed researchers to perform simple forms of mind reading.

Origins of the conceptEdit

According to Roger Luckhurst,[7] 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 not 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 medication.

Psychological symbiosis, 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.[8]

Scientific TheoriesEdit

Various theories have been advanced to try and explain telepathy. A physical theory of telepathy whether described as radiational or by other terms assumes that transference is effected by means of a vibratory current linking one brain to another.[9] William Crookes proposed a "brain wave" theory in which he claimed telepathy might occur due to high frequency vibrations of the ether. Crookes had stated that there may be parts of the human brain that may be capable of sending and receiving electrical rays of wavelengths.[10] William Fletcher Barrett and Frederic William Henry Myers however pointed out problems in a physical theory for telepathy and instead advocated psychical theories.[11]

In the early 20th century there were two other theories of telepathy, the spiritualist theory which claimed telepathy was the result of external spirits and the subconscious mind theory which claimed telepathy occurs due to contact between two or more subconsciouses.[12] The subconscious mind theory was advocated by psychical researcher Thomson Jay Hudson who wrote that the mind is a duality and actually consists of two minds: the objective mind (conscious) and the subjective mind (subconscious).[13]

The psychical researcher John Arthur Hill wrote regarding telepathy "No physical theory of telepathy has been worked out — there are no "brain-waves" known, and no receiving stations yet discovered inside our skulls."[14] George N. M. Tyrrell also claimed that a physical basis for telepathy was untenable as ideas can not be transmitted from one mind to another by any physical mean without being first translated into a code.[15] H. H. Price also suggested that telepathy was incompatible with any material explanation as a physical theory of telepathy would reveal radiations detectable on physical instruments but none have ever been detected. Price wrote:

There is no room for telepathy in a materialistic universe. Telepathy is something which ought not to happen, if the materialistic theory were true. But it does happen. So there must be something seriously wrong with the materialistic theory, however numerous and imposing the normal facts which support it may be.[16]

Case studiesEdit

A famous experiment in telepathy was recorded by the American author Upton Sinclair in his book Mental Radio which documents Sinclair's test of psychic abilities of Mary Craig Kimbrough, his second wife. She attempted to duplicate 290 pictures which were drawn by her husband. Sinclair claimed Mary successfully duplicated 65 of them, with 155 "partial successes" and 70 failures. However, these experiments were not conducted in a controlled scientific laboratory environment.[17]

Another example is the experiments carried out by the author Harold Sherman with the explorer Hubert Wilkins who carried out their own experiments in telepathy for five and a half months starting in October 1937. This took place when Sherman was in New York and Wilkins was in the Arctic. The experiment consisted of Sherman and Wilkins at the end of each day to relax and visualise a mental image or "thought impression" of the events or thoughts they had experienced in the day and then to record those images and thoughts on paper in a diary. The results at the end when comparing Sherman's diary to Wilkins was that "Seventy-five per cent were found to be correct". A typical example was on 21 February 1938. On that day, both Sherman and Wilkins had recorded that cold weather had delayed their jobs, they both had witnessed that someone's skin had peeled off their finger, they both recorded that they had drunk alcohol with friends and witnessed boxes of cigars being brought and both recorded that they had experienced a toothache.[18][19]

To rule out any kind of fraud, each night Sherman had sent his impressions to Gardner Murphy, a psychologist at Columbia University. Murphy had studied the Wilkins-Sherman results and claimed that some could be explained by coincidence but that some exceptions were unexplainable. One such example took place on Armistice Day, 1937. Wilkins had attended a formal ball for the Army with the locals in Canada as his plane was forced to land due to bad weather, Wilkins recorded that he was worried about a dress-suit that he had to wear as the waistcoat was short in size.[20] On the same night, Sherman recorded in his dairy "You in company with men in military attire-some women-evening dress-important people present-much conversation-you appear to be in evening dress yourself."[21] Wilkins was very impressed by the results and wrote that:

When we finally were able to compare notes, what did we find? An amazing number of impressions recorded by Sherman of expedition happenings, and personal experiences, reactions and thoughts of mine. Too many of them were approximately correct and synchronized with the very day of the occurences to have been 'guesswork'.[22]

The full results of the experiments were published in 1942 in a book by Sherman and Wilkins titled Thoughts Through Space in the book both Sherman and Wilkins had written that they believed they had demonstrated that it was possible to send and receive thought impressions from the mind of one person to another.[23]

In parapsychologyEdit

Main article: Parapsychology

Within the field of parapsychology, telepathy is considered to be a form of extra-sensory perception (ESP) or anomalous cognition in which information is transferred through Psi. It is often categorized similarly to precognition and clairvoyance.[24] 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.

File:Cartas Zener.svg
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%.[25] If not conducted properly, this method can be vulnerable to sensory leakage and card counting.[25]

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.[26]

Some parapsychologists still proposed that telepathy may have a physical explanation. The Italian neurologist Ferdinando Cazzamali in the 1920s had claimed that telepathic communication occurred due to a type of electromagnetic radiation.[27] However the neurophysiologist William Grey Walter in his book The Living Brain (1953) wrote that electrical 'brain- waves' are too weak to explain telepathy. Hans Berger also held this view but extended the theory by proposing that telepathy occurs when "electrical energy in the agent's brain is transformed into 'psychic energy' which can be diffused to any distance, passing through obstacles without attenuation".[28]

In 1974 Michael Persinger proposed that extremely low-frequency (ELF) electromagnetic waves may be able to carry telepathic and clairvoyant information.[29] Gerald Feinberg also suggested that telepathy may exist due to as of yet undiscovered elementary particles which he called 'psychons' or 'mindons'.[30][31]

In recent years the parapsychologist Charles Tart has accepted the existence of telepathy but claims that it is nonphysical in nature and can not be fitted into any physical theory.[32]


TypesEdit

Parapsychology describes several different forms of telepathy, including latent telepathy and precognitive telepathy.[4]

Latent Telepathy, formerly known as "deferred telepathy",[33] is described as being the transfer of information, through Psi, with an observable time-lag between transmission and receipt.[4]

Retrocognitive, 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.[4]

Emotive Telepathy, also known as remote influence [34] or emotional transfer, is the process of transferring kinesthetic sensations through altered states.

Superconscious Telepathy, involves tapping into the superconscious [35] to access the collective wisdom of the human species for knowledge.

Skepticism and controversyEdit

Although not a recognized scientific discipline, people who study certain types of paranormal phenomena such as telepathy refer to the field as parapsychology. Parapsychologists claim that some instances of telepathy are real.[36][37] 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.[38]

Parapsychologists and 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.[39][40][41] 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.[42] Skeptics also point to historical cases in which flaws in experimental design and occasional cases of fraud were uncovered.[42]

In popular cultureEdit

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. In A. E. van Vogt's science fiction novel Slan, the mutant hero Jommy Cross can read the minds of ordinary humans. Some telepaths can read the thoughts only of those they touch, such as Vulcans in the Star Trek media franchise. 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.[43] Some humanoids can tap into this field through a kind of sense organ located in the brain; in the same manner that human eyes can 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 one's mind with a barrier. In the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, telepathy is a magical skill known as Legilimency. 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 twins Jamie 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 possession). Examples of this type of telepath include Professor Xavier, Psylocke, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, and numerous other characters in the Marvel Universe, along with Matt Parkman from the television series Heroes.

The radio crimefighter The Shadow had "the power to cloud men's minds," which he used to mask his presence from others.

The film Scanners concerns around people born with this kind of telepathy as well as those with 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.

Technological enabled 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 minds,

See also a composite list of fictional characters with telepathy.

Technologically enabled telepathyEdit

File:Converging technologies.png

Recent BCI toys like those developed by NeuroSky have brought real life telepathy to the general public. The MindFlex made by Mattel in collaboration with NeuroSky was even ranked in Time Magazines top 100 toys of all time.[44][45] In this game the player floats a ball by concentrating on it; an electroencephalogram is used to judge the persons level of concentration through direct measurement of the electrical activity in their brain, this headset then communicates with a platform controlling the speed of a fan and thus the ball.[46][47]

In 2011 a Guinness Book of World Records category was created for BCI based telepathy. The NeuroSky MindWave was awarded it for the, “Heaviest machine moved using a brain control interface”.[48]

Futurists think that brain-computer interfaces may make telepathy possible. There has already been progress in connecting brains with machines, and a man-machine-man bridge is considered very possible.[citation needed]

And if man-machine-man bridges can be made, then such a link can be achieved over great distances using the Internet.

Technologically enabled telepathy is also called "techlepathy," "synthetic telepathy," or "psychotronics."

Some people, occasionally referred to by themselves or others as "transhumanists", believe that technologically enabled telepathy is a technology that humans should pursue in order to improve themselves.

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.[49][50]

See alsoEdit

Template:Paranormal

NotesEdit

  1. Following the model of sympathy and empathy.
  2. Hamilton, Trevor (2009). Immortal Longings: F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian search for life after death. Imprint Academic. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-84540-248-8. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Carroll, Robert Todd (2005). "The Skeptic's Dictionary; Telepathy". SkepDic.com. http://skepdic.com/telepath.html. Retrieved 2006-09-13. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Glossary of Parapsychological terms - TelepathyParapsychological Association. Retrieved December 19, 2006.
  5. Jan Dalkvist (1994). Telepathic group communication of emotions as a function of belief in telepathy. Dept. of Psychology, Stockholm University. http://books.google.com/books?id=lhsRAQAAIAAJ. Retrieved 5 October 2011. "Within the scientific community however, the claim that psi anomalies exist or may exist is in general regarded with skepticism. One reason for this difference between the scientist and the non scientist is that the former relies on on his own experiences and anecdotal reports of psi phenomena, whereas the scientist at least officially requires replicable results from well controlled experiments to believe in such phenomena - results which according to the prevailing view among scientists, do not exist." 
  6. Willem B. Drees (28 November 1998). Religion, Science and Naturalism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-0-521-64562-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=BxmcHWCv2c4C&pg=PA242. Retrieved 5 October 2011. "Let me take the example of claims in parapsychology regarding telepathy across spatial or temporal distances, apparently without a mediating physical process. Such claims are at odds with the scientific consensus." 
  7. Luckhurst, R. (2002). The Invention of Telepathy, 1870-1901. Oxford University Press.
  8. Pickup, G. (2006). Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Volume 11, Number 2, Number 2/March 2006 , pp. 117-192
  9. The Hibbert journal:a quarterly review of religion, theology, and philosophy, Volume 43 George Allen & Unwin, 1944, p. 249
  10. Jill Nicole Galvan The sympathetic medium 2010, p. 10
  11. Joseph Banks Rhine Extra-sensory perception pp. 36-37
  12. W. W. Baggally Telepathy Genuine and Fraudulent 2003 Kessinger Reprint Edition, p. 9
  13. Thomson Jay Hudson The Law of Psychic Phenomena 1892
  14. John Arthur Hill Spiritualism, its history phenomena and doctrine 1919, p. 296
  15. George Nugent Merle Tyrrell Science and psychical phenomena 1938, p. 119
  16. David Lorimer Survival?: body, mind, and death in the light of psychic experience 1984, p. 149
  17. Martin Gardner, Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science (Courier Dover Publications, 1957) Chapter 25: ESP and PK, available online, accessed July 25, 2010
  18. Eric Lord Science, Mind and Paranormal Experience 2009, pp. 210–211
  19. Stanton Arthur Coblentz Light beyond: the wonderworld of parapsychology 1981, pp. 109–110
  20. Simon Nasht The last explorer: Hubert Wilkins, hero of the great age of polar exploration 2006, pp. 268–269
  21. Nasht, 2006, pp. 268–269
  22. Nasht, 2006, pp. 268-269
  23. Hubert Wilkins, Harold Sherman Thoughts through Space: A Remarkable Adventure in the Realm of Mind Hampton Roads Publishing, 2004, ISBN 1-57174-314-6
  24. Glossary of Parapsychological terms - ESP, Parapsychological Association. Retrieved December 19, 2006.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Carroll, Robert (2006-02-17). "Zener ESP Cards". The Skeptic's Dictionary. http://www.skepdic.com/zener.html. Retrieved 2006-07-18. 
  26. The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by Dean I. Radin Harper Edge, ISBN 0-06-251502-0
  27. Radio Waves from the Brain? Popular Science Nov 1925
  28. John Raymond Smythies Science and E.S.P. Routledge & K. Paul, 1967, p. 201
  29. Pamela Rae Heath Mind-Matter Interaction: A Review of Historical Reports, Theory and Research 2011, p. 156
  30. Andrew Tomas On the shores of endless worlds: the search for cosmic life 1974, p. 65
  31. J. S. Zaveri Theory of atom in the Jaina philosophy critical study of the Jaina theory of paramanu pudgala in light of modern scientific theory 1975, p. 123
  32. Charles T. Tart The end of materialism 2009, p. 111
  33. Rennie, John (1845), "Test for Telepathy", Scientific American,V3#1 (1847-09-25)
  34. Plazo, Dr. Joseph R., (2002) "Psychic Seduction." pp.112-114 ISBN 0-9785922-3-9
  35. St. Claire, David., (1989) "Instant ESP." pp.40-50
  36. "What is parapsychology?" From the FAQ of the website of the Parapsychological Association. Retrieved February 3, 2007.
  37. "What is the state-of-the-evidence for psi?" From the FAQ of the website of the Parapsychological Association. Retrieved February 3, 2007.
  38. Skepdic.com on ESP. Retrieved February 22, 2007.
  39. Eberhard Bauer: Criticism and Controversy in Parapsychology - An OverviewTemplate loop detected: Template:Fix/category[dead link]. European Journal of Parapsychology (1984), 5, 141-166. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
  40. O',Keeffe, Ciarán and Wiseman Richard: Testing alleged mediumship: Methods and results. British Journal of Psychology (2005), 96, 165–17.
  41. Rowland, Ian: The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading
  42. 42.0 42.1 See for examples, Randi, James. Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions. Prometheus Books (June 1982) ISBN 0-87975-198-3 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 0-8018-7867-5
  43. André Bormanis discusses telepathy in Star Trek
  44. "NeuroSky Partners". NeuroSky. http://www.neurosky.com/People/Partners.aspx. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  45. Townsend, Allie (2011-02-16). "All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys". Time.com (Time Magazine). http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2049243_2048662_2049236,00.html. Retrieved 2011-04-31. 
  46. "Mattel and NeuroSky Ink Alliance for 'Next Generation' Games and Toys". TradingMarkets.com. 2010-03-23. http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2304161/. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  47. Miller, Ross (2009-01 05). "Mind-Mattel's Mindflex teaches kids fake telekinesis". Engadget.com. Engadget. http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/05/mattels-mind-flex-teaches-kids-fake-telepathy/. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  48. "NeuroSky MindWave Sets Guinness World Record for "Largest Object Moved Using a Brain-Computer Interface"". NeuroGadget.com. NeuroGadget. http://neurogadget.com/2011/04/12/neurosky-mindwave-sets-guinness-world-record-for-%E2%80%9Clargest-object-moved-using-a-brain-computer-interface%E2%80%9D/1820. 
  49. Dvorsky, George (2004). "Evolving Towards Telepathy". Betterhumans.com. http://www.21stcenturyradio.com/articles/05/0103318.html. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  50. TakeAway Media (2000). "Leviathan: Back to the Future: An interview with Kevin Warwick". BBC Two. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/special_report/1999/12/99/back_to_the_future/kevin_warwick.stm. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 

External linksEdit

Template:Parapsychology

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