- Mental telepathy is the process of transferring thoughts from one mind to another.
- Research in 2014 scientifically validated the demonstration of mind-to-mind communication.
- Someday, instead of texting, speaking, or looking into a camera to communicate, we may simply “think” our message.
Mental telepathy, the process of transferring thoughts from one mind to another, has traditionally occupied the realms of either science fiction or the paranormal, both of which are outside of mainstream science.
Research in 2014 has changed all that, with a scientifically validated demonstration of mind-to-mind communication.
Neuroscientist Carlos Grau of the University of Barcelona and colleagues set up a clever experiment in which signals picked up by an Electroencephalagraph EEG from subjects in India were transmitted over the internet as email messages to other subjects in France, whose scalps had been fitted with Trans Cranial Magnetic (TMS) stimulators.
TMS devices, which have been used to treat anxiety and depression, electrically stimulate neural activity in the brain through intact scalps using strong magnetic fields. In this experiment, TMS stimulators were placed over the occipital (visual) cortex at the back of the brain, creating a perceived flash of light, called a phosphene, through neural activations in the visual cortex.
The subjects in India were trained to generate an EEG signal representing either a one or a zero using a biofeedback monitor. A one was generated when subjects imagined moving a hand, while a zero was produced when subjects imagined moving a foot. These ones and zeros were then emailed from India to France, and routed to one of two TMS devices mounted on subjects’ scalps. Ones were routed to a TMS electrode that caused a phosphene to be perceived, while zeros were routed to a different TMS device whose activity produced no phosphenes.
This figure illustrates how the mind to mind communication path worked.
Think of this as a kind of neurological Morse code. The researchers encoded a series of ones and zeros into words such as “hola” and “ciao,” showing that simple linguistic communication was possible.
The bottom line is that the experiment more or less worked. Error rates of transmission of ones and zeros varied between 1% and 11%, well below what would be expected by random noise.
Why should we care?
Well, one way of viewing this demonstration is that it is as historic as Alexander Graham Bell saying, “Watson, come here, I want to see you:” the first-ever voice communication over the telephone.
In Grau et al’s experiments, we may be seeing the birth of a revolutionary means of communication that will transform our world in the way the telegraph, telephone, or television did. Someday, instead of texting, speaking or looking into a camera to communicate, we may simply “think” our message, saving all the bother of typing or speaking, or even getting out of the shower.
Finally, if mind-to-mind communication proves practical, it’s possible that we will learn to communicate subtle ideas and nuances that text, speech and facial expressions cannot, forever changing the way humans relate to each other by amplifying and enriching the depth of communication.
Words sometimes fail us. Thoughts may not!