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Telepathy (from the Greek τηλε, tele meaning "distant" and πάθη, pathe meaning "affliction, experience"),[2] is the transfer of information on thoughts or feelings between individuals by means other than the "five classic senses" (See Psi).[1][3] The term was coined in 1882 by the classical scholar Fredric W. H. Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research,[1] specifically to replace the earlier expression thought-transference.[1][3] A telepath would be a person with the paranormal ability to read others' thoughts and mental contents. Telepathy is one kind of extrasensory perception which, along with psychokinesis, forms the main topics of parapsychological research. Many studies seeking to detect, understand, and utilize telepathy have been done within this field. This research has neither produced a replicable demonstration of telepathy, nor an accepted mechanism by which it might work. Hence the scientific community does not regard telepathy as a real phenomenon. It is hard to unambiguously distinguish telepathy from a number of other parapsychological hypotheses such as clairvoyance.[4]

Telepathy is a common theme in modern fiction and science fiction, with many superheroes and supervillains having telepathic abilities.


Origins of the concept

According to Roger Luckhurst,[5] 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.

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