Created By: Generality on December 4, 2012 Last Edited By: Generality on September 28, 2013

Mind Touch

(Previously Mental Transfer) Characters touch minds temporarily to communicate.

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Trope
The temporary form of a Psychic Link, wherein two or more characters literally put their minds together in order to share information or equalize their mental states. The characteristic of this kind of connection is that it is maintained by deliberate effort, usually by one person who is a psychic or controlling advanced technology, and ends once the power source for the link stops working.

This is no mere Telepathy, nor is it particularly one-directional. This is a direct soul-to-soul connection, and can quickly get more intimate than either party intended. Physical contact is usually required, especially a variant of the Pstandard Psychic Pstance where the fingertips of the psychic are placed on the forehead or temples of the subject. The recipient is usually willing; if not, Mind Rape probably results.

The typical effect, for the viewer, is an Info Dump, unless the information shared has previously been intimated. This can be difficult to present in a timely fashion, as potentially minutes' worth of information is transferred in a few seconds of mental connection. As such, the link is often portrayed through a trip to the Mental World or some similar metaphorical representation.

See also Journey to the Center of the Mind, Mind Probe.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • A vicarious variant occurs in Bleach. When Shinigami or Arrancar clash their zanpaku-to, if they are of similar power levels they will form a psychic connection. Usually this just has the effect of giving each an understanding of the other's motivation and perspective, but in some cases, as with Grimmjow, it begins a full-fledged flashback that can go on for several chapters.
  • Iris does this with the rogue Dragonite in Pokémon when she touches it trying to find out why it's attacking,and she sees snippets of its battle with a Hydreigon.

Comic Books
  • Happens in Chroniques De La Lune Noire, where Parsifal is inspected this way by a Church official to see whether or not he's telling the truth.
  • Although the elves of ElfQuest are capable of "sending" (Telepathy), they also have something called "Recognition" where a genetically highly-compatible male and female have their souls forcibly joined immediately they look into each other's eyes. They then experience a physical desire to mate with each other. While delaying is possible, ultimately resistance is futile (and physically dangerous). Overlaps with Mind Rape to an extent, although in this case it's involuntary for both.

Literature
  • In The Dresden Files, this is called a "soulgaze", and happens whenever a wizard locks eyes with someone else. The effect varies, sometimes just an impression of the person's nature, other times a Pensieve Flashback or a trip to the other person's Mental World. Harry has not yet learned what other people see when he Soulgazes them, but it can affect them quite dramatically.

Live-Action TV
  • In the pilot of Fringe, Olivia enters a sensory deprivation tank in her underwear in order to communicate with her comatose partner. It later turns out their consciousnesses fused partially, resulting in him appearing as a Living Memory in her mind.
  • In Star Trek, the Vulcan Mind Meld can work this way, or it can be dialed up to a full-on Mental Fusion.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Girl in the Fireplace", the Doctor touches hands on the young Madame de Pompadour's temples to look into her memory and see why aliens are targeting her. She looks into his memories as well, to his great surprise.
    • In "The Lodger", the Doctor explains to Craig who he is and what he's up to via a pair of psychic headbutts.

Video Games
  • Among themselves, this is the preferred mode of communication for the Vell-os in EV Nova.
  • Happens unintentionally in StarCraft. After Zeratul kills a Celebrate, Zeratul and The Overmind's minds connect and they learn each others secrets.
    • In StarCraft II Zeratul does it on purpose, visiting the husk of the deceased Overmind to uncover its knowledge of future. He also does it remotely, giving some of his memories to Raynor via an Ihan crystal.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • December 4, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Note that Mind Meld is currently a redirect to Mental Fusion anyway. I wouldn't mind seeing the name repurposed, however I think we've got another problem: Mental Fusion and Psychic Link are too difficult to tell apart at a quick glance.

  • December 5, 2012
    Chabal2
    Happens in Chroniques De La Lune Noire, where Parsifal is inspected this way by a Church official to see whether or not he's telling the truth.
  • December 5, 2012
    robinjohnson
    This is how the dragons and their Riders communicate in the Inheritance Cycle.
  • December 5, 2012
    Generality
    ^^^ My understanding is that Mental Fusion is an actual fusion of the two minds, whereas Psychic Link is just a permanent telepathic link between them. But it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of the examples are mixed up. In theory, these are all subtropes of Psychic Link in any case.

    ^ I think the dragon connection is a permanent psychic link.
  • December 5, 2012
    chicagomel
    It appears Iris does this with the rogue Dragonite in Pokemon when she touches it trying to find out why it's attacking,and she sees snippets of its battle with a Hydreigon. (anime)
  • December 5, 2012
    WaxingName
    Subtrope of Telepathy.

    Also, I think Mental Phone Call or Mental Communication would be a much better name than Mental Transfer, which sounds more like Brain Uploading, Transferable Memory, and a few other tropes with a similar name.
  • December 5, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Right, Mental Transfer doesn't work.
  • December 6, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    "Mind Touch"? "Characters touch minds"? What does that mean?
  • December 6, 2012
    StarSword
    Video Games:
    • Among themselves, this is the preferred mode of communication for the Vell-os in EV Nova.
  • December 10, 2012
    Speedball
    Didn't Chricton share "Unity" with Zhaan in Farscape like this?
  • December 10, 2012
    reub2000
    • Happens unintentionally in Star Craft. After Zeratul kills a Celebrate, Zeratul and The Overmind's minds connect and they learn each others secrets.
  • June 9, 2013
    Melkior
    Comics:
    • Although the elves of ElfQuest are capable of "sending" (Telepathy), they also have something called "Recognition" where a genetically highly-compatible male and female have their souls forcibly joined immediately they look into each other's eyes. They then experience a physical desire to mate with each other. While delaying is possible, ultimately resistance is futile (and physically dangerous). Overlaps with Mind Rape to an extent, although in this case it's involuntary for both.
  • September 9, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    Compare Exposition Beam.
  • September 9, 2013
    DAN004
    Um, what's the difference from Mental Fusion anyways?
  • September 28, 2013
    Generality
    ^ That's more complete and usually lasts longer.
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