On The Matter Of Mind Reading

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by davidelkins, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. davidelkins Registered Senior Member

    On the matter of mind reading, if someone were to ask me to guess at what they were thinking, I would say, 'You are probably thinking about twenty to thirty topics. You most likely are recieving millions of inputs from your physical environment. In addition you probably have gone through tens of thousands of references from your memories today.' By keeping it broad and respecful there can be much progress. DE
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  3. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    Yes and/or so?
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  5. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

    That is not mind reading. Progress in what?
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I would suggest to do some research into the *mirror neural network* to find examples of *mindreading*, even physical responses to events experienced by another, known as *empathic responses*.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Philosophically speaking, the interesting kind of 'mind reading' isn't some sort of ESP, it refers to our ability to attribute an inner life not only to other people, but to ourselves. We ascribe conscious awareness to ourselves and others. We attribute emotions to other people based on subtle clues of expression and gesture. We intuit the same sort of emotions in ourselves. We understand other people's behavior in terms of goals, plans and intentions. We understand ourselves the same way. We attribute ideas to other people and interpret their speech and writing as expressing those ideas. We believe that we have our own ideas, and that our own words mean something.

    The question becomes what if anything in neurophysiology corresponds to an idea, a meaning, a thought, a feeling? (In philosophy-speak, these things are referred to as 'folk psychology'.) How can we make sense of the psychological vocabulary of 'folk psychology' in terms of neuro-science?

  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    This is why I believe the process is subconscious. The MNN processes *input* and compares it to known and associated experiences.

    We see something and MNN processes this information just like any other computer.
    This processing and subconscious memories alone produces the bio-chemical reactions in our physical neural system.
    Example: We are a passenger in a car with a fast driver. When we are suddenly confronted with an obstacle, both driver AND passenger press their feet down to the floor, not to prepare for impact, but to *slow* (applying the brakes) the car down.

    IOW, the passenger experiences the exact same physical response, even if the passenger has no brakes or control over the car. It's a subconsciously mirrored scene which triggers a physical reflexive action.

    IMO, this is an indication that the MNN functions in parallel ways in most people, just like any hardwired computer would process the same data.

    Of course this is a simplified version and in the real world the stored memories and experiences are different and will trigger slightly different response behaviors.

    But I do believe there is compelling evidence that suggests the MNN plays an important part, especially in what we call *intuitive* (subconscious) responses.
  10. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Broad information has worked wonders for horoscopes and psychic readings. "You'll meet someone today" is a much more likely bull's eye than "The parking lot at Kmart, his name is Rance Webber, and he'll run over your foot with an electric wheelchair at 5:34 PM today."
  11. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

    I have doubts in mind reading. At least my mind seems to have different levels of thoughts. On top there are clearly formulated thoughts, almost like spoken language, "What do I do next? Right, wanted to heat up the water for the tea."

    Below that there is a constant process of thinking, but not this clearly expressed.

    And even below that there is a less conscious level of thinking, which only becomes visible if some results or something important comes up in these unconscious thoughts.

    I believe that mind reading, if at all, is only possible on the top level, the "expressed thoughts".
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    What do we consider to be "mind reading" though, at least in the context of the OP?
    For example, when I buy a friend a drink at the pub and know what it is he wants without him telling me, is that mind reading? When I open a door for someone that I think is looking to enter the room/building, is that mind reading? These are subconscious thoughts of anticipating what someone will do or needs based on body language, experience, etc.
    I don't think such mind reading need be of conscious thoughts at all, and are mostly evidenced through our ability to read and react subconsciously the subconscious thoughts and actions of others.

    Now, if we're only thinking of the psychic notion of mind-reading then I think this is of, as you term, "expressed thoughts", as otherwise we're really just looking at the mundane.
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I've tried to introspect while I speak or write on a keyboard like this, wondering where my words come from, about how they were generated.

    I typically have some unspoken and non-verbal idea of what I want to say. Then the words just seem to appear, complete with their vocabulary and grammar. If I'm writing, I look at them with my mind's eye and might consciously rewrite it a bit. If I'm speaking, it just flows out of my mouth. There's obviously some very complex processing going on in there, processing that I don't have conscious access to. I have intentions about what I want to say and form ideas, but if I try to focus on them in their primordial state, they immediately precipitate into words, into language. The sorting and searching for the right words happens unconsciously. Occasionally that process fails and I'm left with an odd uncomfortable feeling that there's a word for what I want to say but I can't retrieve it. (I'm told that's what aphasia after a stroke feels like, except that it's every word that's lost.) All of the complex English grammar stuff and a lot of the writing style stuff just appears with no effort at all. All I consciously have is a feeling that some phrasing sounds better than others.

    I kind of imagine a computer analogy for my mind, with my conscious access taking the role of a graphical user interface. It's what appears on my self-awareness screen. But clearly there's lots of 'machine-language' stuff going on in there (at the level of neurons firing) and 'assembly language' stuff (the unconscious vocabulary searches and the grammar application). I'm still not sure what to make of my ideas before they are verbalized. I obviously know about them in some way, but I can't directly examine them by introspection.

    I'm inclined to agree.

    I'm entirely convinced that mind reading happens though. We have this whole psychological vocabulary (ideas, intentions, emotions...) that we apply not only to ourselves (where we might have privileged-access) but to other people as well. I even find myself trying to understand my dog that way.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  14. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

    No, that is just "putting yoruself in their shoes and trying to find out what they want/need, by taking their position in your imagination". It doesn't involve actually accessing their mind - you're just guessing, not reading.

    In my understanding mind reading is something different. E.g. I once asked people to make up a mental image of something, and then trying to find out what image they had on their mind. Didn't work very well, but that's something I'd consider mind reading - actively accessing their minds, without extrapolating from the behaviour that they exhibited in the past.

    It might look very similar in the result - a successful guess surely is indistinguioshable from a successfully mind-read thought - but the approach is very different.
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    The movie "The Cell" is a great introduction to the concept of "mind reading".
  16. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Memory is always a volume. Rational information couldn't be infinite. New knowledge would be erasing original facts in your mind. You can only think, and say so much then you singularize. Déjà u.
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    If we create a model that each individual is a universe itself, each with its own God (You)seems to me that would solve a lot of these questions.
    It certainly would answer the question of "memory" and why we are bound to repeat the past if we don't learn from our mistakes we made then.

    This may be of interest: http://www.ted.com/talks/blaise_agu...tm_medium=email&utm_content=image__2016-06-28
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  18. davidelkins Registered Senior Member

    In addition to this 'broad knowledge' that C C spoke of, what if I said, 'There is someone out there on the face of the Earth that is thinking about banannas and the number 1.911. This is ultra-specific but applied to such a broad audience that I might in fact be right. DE
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    You are right, these are probabilistic odds, but it is a greater probability that someone is thinking about bananas than about the number 1.911, unless they were thinking about
    IRS regulations.
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    This is an interesting post. Memory of specific events is limited, when a person gets older they tend to "forget" details of past events. However, as you say the memory is also augmented by the new information.

    But IMO, the brain function is mostly based on *cognition* of a set and not necessarily on *re-cognition* of a specific fact. Why do we uses *smileys* to convey sometimes very subtle communication.

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  21. wellwisher Banned Banned

    I remember as a young adult in high school. I was asked by a friend to attend a mind control course, called Silva Mind Control. It is still around. The course lasted two full weekends; 12x4=48 hours. It was about tapping into higher human abilities. I had no money but the instructor, was going to allow me to sit in for free. She had a good jibe about me from a distance before we met.

    One set of exercises was called cases. This was were one person would hold a deck of index cards. These cards had various medical issues, physical problems and illnesses written on them, mostly by former members and their families and friends. The exercise was for the other person to close their eyes, and visualize what was on the cards. This was a type of mind reading, but with a source, that could be verified by both people. You each did about 20 and then switched. People would then write more cards for the future classes.

    To make a long story short, there were about 10 pairs of people, all doing this at the same time, with about half of those pairs having children, some as young as 10. The children were the most accurate, with some getting 50-90% right. It was amazing to see others do it. But the high accuracy made you think it was fixed, to scam you, until you would do it yourself; wow. I was got about 50% of the 20 cases I was given, with some appearing in detail. It did not happen with words, but with a more universal language of visual imagery. A heart condition appeared as a black heart or a pregnant woman a blank person with a big belly. Lung cancer or asthma may appear as exaggerated lungs. I am not sure how to explain this, but I was a witness and a participant.

    There is a logic to some aspects of mind reading. I have a dog and they are perceptive to feelings. Dogs can read feelings. Based on training habits an other habits, he can extrapolate meaning based on my feelings at a given time. If I try to show off his obedience skills; bragging feeling, he will not listen and play dumb. But if he senses urgency in my voice, he is very attentive and precise. I must have unconsciously told him not to let me if I get ego inflated, but act when there is need.

    Some mind reading begins with feelings. If someone is depressed, but not very often otherwise, their short term depression may bring them to a certain state of mind, such as connected to the loss of a loved one. When you sense that mood, you can sort of guess what they are thinking of. Instead of talking about it, I might bring up a funny memory of the deceased, sort of skipping a few steps in the conversation; return to a balanced state.

    I know other people who like to dwell in glory days. I can tell when this is about to happen, because they start to give a certain vibe. I already now what they are thinking and I may either throw sand in the gears or else help grease the gears, depending on what other attached feeling I sense; sub-feeling.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  22. davidelkins Registered Senior Member

    If someone were to ask me if they could guess my thoughts for an experiment, I would tell them that timing matters, as in 'What am I thinking right now', but topics matter too. What does a person think about topic A, B, C. This topical emphasis adds much depth to understanding each others thoughts. By the way, it would be fun to trying out the Silva Mind Control classes. DE
  23. mtf Banned Banned

    Meh. That which is usually called "mind reading" is simply a parlor trick, based on careful observation of some externals about the person, a good dose of bluffing, and political incorrectness.

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