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Can some people read minds?

Well, that depends on what you mean. While there are many unexplained mental phenomenon, there's very little evidence that extra-sensory perception (ESP) occurs. But before you get too disappointed, there are ways in which humans can read minds using our "normal" (as opposed to "paranormal") senses.

In fact, we all read minds every day, and we read minds continuously. We're always trying to understand what our parents, teachers, friends and classmates are thinking or feeling. So think for a moment and you'll realize you can often tell what's on--or in--the mind of someone else. You usually know when a person "likes" you or not; you know when a friend is preoccupied, sad, or angry. You can even tell if your parents are disappointed or proud.

We humans are specifically designed to read and respond to each other's non-verbal cues, with a special ability to judge safety-related signals: Is this a friend or a foe? Will this person hurt me or help me?

Some people are better at "mind reading" than others. You can become better if you pay attention to body language, such as hand gestures and facial expressions. For example, when people are feeling uncomfortable, they may squirm, blush, bite their lip, pick at their fingernails, and have a hard time maintaining eye contact. When someone likes you, he or she may often look into your eyes, touch their hair, smile, or touch your arm when they're talking to you. You'll find the subtle cues a person gives off are somewhat unique--for one friend, you may find one nervous habit (fingernail biting) and with another friend a different cue (fidgety feet).

Try to pay attention to how you behave when you feel anxious, happy, interested, or bored. What signals do you give off?. Watch, listen, and build up a catalogue of experience and you'll become a better "mind reader."

DR. BRUCE PERRY IS THE THOMAS TRAMMELL RESEARCH Professor of Child Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, and Chief of Psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. He has been consulted on many high profile incidents involving traumatized children, including the Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine, Colorado, school shootings.
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Title Annotation:reading non-verbal communication
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 4, 2000
Previous Article:Wild and Weird.
Next Article:BORN to Run.

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