Telepathy – Wishful thinking or social adaption?

Have you ever been thinking of someone, and that certain someone is ringing on your phone, or is just knocking on your door? A best friend who happens to be thinking the exact same thing as you? You even finish each other’s sentences.

Professor Charles Xavier from X-men is probably the most well-known psychic telepath. He is able to read, control and even erase people’s minds. Sadly, real telepathy does not work that way. However, Digby Tantam, is writing in his article, published 2009 that neuroscientists are demonstrating that emotions can spread, not from Mind to Mind, but from brain to brain.

Telepathy means feeling at a distance, according to Digby.T(2009). But when we say it, we don’t mean feeling; we also mean reading what someone is thinking. Feelings others feelings, AKA, Mirroring other persons feelings – having he ability to put yourself into someone else’s situation – Empathy – Compassion! (Mrnorthernstorm.wordpress.com, Is compassion an emotion?, October,2011)

When we look at someone, we are sometimes, very often, able to read that persons emotion, by looking at their face. And if it is someone we know very well, we don’t even have to look at their face. We just know how that person is feeling. You can also by listening to someone’s way of speaking on the phone, tell who that person is speaking to. Why? You have learned how that person acts in certain situations. When we are on the phone with someone, we mirror our speech to match the persons on the other end. (Fexeus, H. Konsten att läsa tankar, 2007)

Being able to tell other persons feelings, is a very important skill if you live in groups, humans are gregarious animals and our ability to communicate with our group, none-verbal, telling how someone is feeling would increase the groups chances of survival.

Mr Northernstorm

References:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-mind-and-spirit/200909/can-we-really-read-minds
Fexeus,H. Konsten att läsa tankar, 2007. Bokförlaget Forum, Sweden.

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9 comments on “Telepathy – Wishful thinking or social adaption?

  1. psue3e says:

    Researching the topic of telepathy led me to articles on using telepathy as sole evidence for child abuse and ‘phychic fields’, highly amusing and somewhat informative, I have to admit!

    Some psychological research has been conducted on this topic from the 1970s onwards. The Galvanic Skin Response Detector (GSRD) was designed and has been used since to measure any physiological changes one experiences while receiving or sending telepathic messages. Varvoglis used this device while conducting research with the so-called ESP cards. Each of these cards had either a figure of a star, a cross, a square, a circle, or three wavy lines on it. The aim of the study was to see whether the participants would guess correctly which of the figures was on a particular card after the image of that figure was mentally ‘sent’ to them by someone looking at it. This method is questionable, though – much like the magic trick cards, it is subjective, cannot be falsified and is as such, non-scientific.

    Recordings from the GSRD clearly showed that the GSR is higher when one makes an attempt to send/receive a message via telepathy, compared to when no attempt is made. However, the reason for that may not be telepathy at all – it may be that the participants expect to receive a message or are consciously trying to send one so their skin receptors may become more sensitive to any changes in the external environment. Moreover, why are researchers interested in the skin, should not psychologists be more concerned with changes in brain patterns, instead?

    As for the other theory of telepathy – as a social adaptation – it seems more true of animals, such as whales, than humans. Yet, a few cases have been reported where a woman knew that her mother/ daughter had been severely hurt, etc. Interestingly enough, the cases of men receiving such telepathic messages are much rarer, if any. There is no scientific evidence to prove this hypothesis, however.

    • I must remind you that Humans are Animals, and we live in groups, packs if you wish.
      I know that I’ve read about a woman who woke up in the middle of the night, screaming her son’s name. She knows her son is dead, she later finds out that her son was shot down in combat, and this was during WW2. I can’t find my source, so this information might just be useless, thought i share it anyway! Women are ‘more know’ to use telepathy than men. We also know that men and women have different brain structure, what we also know, is that women are to be found in group of 2-5 individuals. Weather they’re in a nightclub or shopping – women are seldom found alone. Women are also thought to be more sensible and sympathetic than men (yes, i am getting a little sexist here) My connection here is : Women are more of a group animal than men, they show/read emotions better, and there are more cases of female telepathy than male. Beginning to see where I’m going with this?

      The more we socialize with others, the more likely it is for us to have a ‘telepathic’ connection with that person, since we spend time with that person, and learn to read him/her. However, this does not explain Long Distance Telepathy, that u mention in your comment.

      • psue9a says:

        Firstly: women.. sensible..? 😉

        Anyway, what you say about reading another person’s emotions, to me, is simply learning from our own case what expressions etc. we pull (they are, after all, at least partially socially learnt in the first place) and changes in our own voices we make when we are in a certain mood. In cases where we have known the person for longer, yes, perhaps this is fine-tuned more than with a stranger, but when one says the word ‘telepathy’ it really comes across as being something much more mysterious than simply recognising bodily cues; in my opinion, it is not that we are reading their emotions, but simply reading their body language which leads us to infer about their emotions.

  2. A very interesting blog. I was wondering whether this could be linked to ‘Joint Attention’ which most often applied to autism, as this appears to be something which they struggle with.
    The idea of joint attention is an important developmental milestone and is from which most social skills are later developed. Joint attention is the process of sharing one’s experiences of the observation of an event by following eye gaze or pointing gestures. To do this one has to be able to read the other person to be able to tell what they are observing, by watching the original observer they are able to learn about the event by their facial expressions, e.g. if it is funny or sad.
    Could joint attention be how ‘telepathy’ develops?
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=J481WkEVt3UC&oi=fnd&pg=PA103&dq=joint+attention&ots=yjp9h-3i3U&sig=0ZpkOlbmlQIKDjAUKNPeVXylmZM#v=onepage&q=joint%20attention&f=false

  3. Yes Louise! This can absolutely be linked to Joint Attention!
    It basically explains the connection between two (or more) people, that hang out a lot.
    There’s a Swedish saying, that really can’t be translated to English – But ill give it a try. Beloved children have many names. Meaning that Joint Attention and Short Range Telepathy, is the same thing, but with different names. However, how do you prove this scientifically? The only way i can think of is measuring the brain activity of two friends while they are talking about something, and see if the activity mirrors one another.

  4. lealeason says:

    However, as telepathy is a field of parapsychology the Parapsychological Association published remarks that telepathy is not only the ability to read on peoples faces and expressions their feelings or thoughts, but that something ‘supernatural’ is happening, since two people in ganzfields (German for “complete field”) experiments and therefor isolated from each other are more frequently able to tell what the other person did or watched then they should be.

    Reference: ESP in the Ganzfield, http://www.parapsych.org/articles/36/64/3_esp_in_the_ganzfeld.aspx

  5. There is no evidence that Telepathy does not exist, and if you can not disprove something to be real – It is real, till you can disprove it? I don’t know…
    Either way, i believe that there is something supernatural is going on.
    Still, occam’s razor, would suggest that there is nothing supernatural in our world..
    And that would be booring…

  6. psuf10 says:

    Hey Mrnorthernstorm

    It seems that your argument is pretty concrete; I can’t seem to find any evidence that supports that telepathy is another pseudoscience. The only argument against telepathy being a pseudoscience is that, in psychology the normal parameters for chance is 0.05, so it might be down to chance. However this is very unlikely due to the number of experiments done on telepathy, and the all seem to prove that depending level of telepathy you use, you guess in more likely of being correct.

    Another example I thought was very interesting is the ” Smith-Blackburn experiments “ this experiment gave unexplainable statistical results which where to common for just to be chance occurring. This means argument for psychic faculty is undeniably stronger than it has ever been. Thus proving you’re argument however looking at a null hypothesis how would you prove that the more you believe that you are have telepathy boosts your confidence which allows you to make more correct decisions.

    Refer to Gauld, A (1968). The Founders of Psychical Research.
    Great Briaitn: Butler and Tanner Ltd . page 179
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ZHM9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA374&lpg=PA374&dq=Smith-Blackburn+experiments&source=bl&ots=bns0e5NJwM&sig=RTLZMKVEno8RyQ3In5V42Jvd16U&hl=en&ei=GT-pTo3mHcmnhAeNqOGaDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Smith-Blackburn%20experiments&f=false

  7. psyducksoups says:

    As humans it’s understood that we can read other peoples’ emotions through body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. However telepathy is the ability to read someone’s mental state or thoughts without cues given by them. This is very different from communication through body language. If we liken telepathy to reading body language then we are merely discussing tricks like that displayed by Derren Brown.

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