UPDATE: The One Thousand Mindreaders project grew out of the work I describe below.
Last week I ran a workshop for psychologists and artists interested in cognition and creativity. I taught the participants how to read each other’s minds in a genuine way that involves holding the other person’s hand and sensing the small muscle movements caused by their thoughts. If they simply imagine moving their hand to the right their hand will respond in a subtle way through micro muscle movements. You can pick up on these movements if you practice. Everyone is able to do this to some degree but some of the best people I have taught were tango dancers who are already very practiced at picking up the subtle physical intentions of their partners.
We spent 3 hours training the abilities of the twelve participants through various exercises. Some of these exercises I have used with sports coaches to train physical attention control.
We then tested the skills by working in pairs. One person would leave the room and the other would do a simple drawing and then hide it. Their partner would come back into the room and hold a pencil on a piece of paper. The person who had done the drawing would then hold their partner’s wrist and simply think about the drawing they had made. Their imagination would reveal itself in the tension of their hand. Their partner would move the pen over the paper trying to sense the path of least resistance. In this way, they would attempt to duplicate the drawing.
Everyone managed to read each other’s minds and duplicate the drawings. Everyone was amazed at their own skills. Here are some of the target drawings along with their duplicates.
I then had one of the pair hide an object in the room and their partner would use the same method to locate the hidden object. Here are some images of them finding objects by holding hands and reading muscles.