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Mind Probe

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Darth Maul: Now there are some things I need to know. And you’re going to help me.
Jesse: We can go round and round in this circle if you want. I ain’t telling you anything!
Darth Maul: It is not up to you. Your mind will speak. Or it will break!

One of the characters is captured and restrained. If they have information that the Big Bad wants, or if their captors are just feeling a bit sadistic, the bad guys will break out the Mind Probe.

This device may cause a) a lot of fancy flashing lights and electronic effects, b) frightening hallucinations for the captured hero, or c) both. These devices frequently have varying levels of intensity; inevitably, the hero has to suffer the highest one. Confusing and terrifying flashbacks and nightmares are often a long-term result of the Probe, especially if the hero is being made to pay for past transgressions.

While not actually touching the character in any way, when turned on, their subjects will convulse in agony. Sometimes they actually result in usable information. If the character has Telepathy, they can initiate this without the device. A telepath might try to protect themselves with a Psychic Block Defense.

Named for a device in Doctor Who, where similar things were used several times.

Compare the more benign Journey to the Center of the Mind. Compare/contrast Mind Rape — different purpose, similar principle.

See also the Mental Picture Projector and Virtual-Reality Interrogation. For a slightly different approach, there's the Agony Beam, which doesn't get into a person's mind directly — it's just a good way to convince a person to tell you what you want to know.

Not to be confused with Mind Screw.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who:
    • "Caerdroia" has the Eighth Doctor complaining about all the various Mind Blasters, Mind Erasers, Mind Scrapers, Mind Peelers, etc. he's constantly being threatened with and finds to be a repetitive, mostly-harmless nuisance. The villain of the story uses something called a Mind Blaster, which he stole from his employers, on the Doctor and does not find it to be a profitable exercise as the Doctor very effortlessly outwits him. Turns out the Doctor's mind contains a croquet course, a waterslide, and some bits of old cheese.
      "I've lost count of the number of Mind Shredders, Mind Graders, Mind Peelers, Mind Scramblers, Mind Boilers, and all the other types of Mind Devices with cooking program names that have been tried on me. You're not dealing with an amateur here."
    • The Fifth Doctor in another audio drama is similarly unimpressed when threatened with a mind probe, stating he's endured so many he ought to write a field guide on the subject.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers: Ultron has his Encephalo Ray. Doubles as Mind Rape, because while it can be used painlessly, Ultron prefers to use the more painful settings.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel): The Brainwave Scanner, the creation of Cobra's original Mad Scientist, Dr. Venom. As described by Venom himself, it performs a thorough scan of the subject's brainwaves, long enough for its computer to generate an "image vocabulary" that would then allow it to display the subject's visual memories on a monitor.
  • Shakara: The Hierarchy use a mind probe device to scan Eva Procopio's mind after she tries to avoid their questions too much.
  • Star Trek: Early Voyages: In "Flesh of My Flesh", the Ngultor use a mind probe on Captain Pike after capturing him to examine his memories and learn of "the other life-self consumables" on the Enterprise. Pike relives his memories of taking over command of the Enterprise from Captain Robert April and recruiting Number One and Spock to the crew.
  • Star Trek: Untold Voyages: In "Odyssey's End", the Abductors subject Admiral Kirk to a mind probe during which he sees visions of three important people in his life whom he lost: Edith Keeler, Gary Mitchell and his brother Sam.
  • Strangers at the Heart's Core: Klax-Ar uses a telepathic helmet to pry information from his enemies' brains.
  • Supergirl:
    • Red Daughter of Krypton: Red Lantern Sheko does this telepathically to judge people. If she finds them innocent, she let them go; If she finds them guilty, she burns them down. She tried to read Supergirl's mind, but she got thrown out.
    • Supergirl (1972): Linda Danvers's roommate Wanda is a telepath. In the first issue, Wanda probes Supergirl's mind telepathically.
    • Supergirl (1982): In #23, Supergirl fights a mutant with Psychic Powers. During the fight, said mutant attacks her mind telepathically.
  • Superman:
    • In The Third Kryptonian, Amalak uses a headdress-resembling mind-probe to try to force Kandor's location out of the Man of Steel.
    • The Life Story of Superman: Lex Luthor plants several mind-reading devices (concealed as projectors and floor plates) around a Superman exhibit to subtly probe Superman's mind and create a copy of his memories as his nemesis gives a tour of the area.

    Fan Works 
  • Captain Proton and the Planet of Lesbians: The Brain Probe is used on Constance Goodheart and comes up with a complete blank.
  • The Chaotic Three: Quinlan Vos and Yoda are shown using the same mind-reading technique that Kylo Ren used in The Force Awakens. It is established that this method is normally used to get information from corpses rather than the living and can be dangerous to use too often, with Rey only coming through it with nothing more than a few hours unconscious because she let both Jedi into her mind willingly as opposed to Poe and Rey fighting Kylo Ren when he did it to them.
  • Doctor Whooves – The Series: In Along Came a Spider, the Eldritch Abomination du jour uses one on the Doctor, who isn't even impressed a little bit.
  • Hellsister Trilogy: In the second arc, Desaad uses one mind-scanning contraption to torture information out of Pariah.
    That had led Desaad down the right track. For tortures of the mind can be even worse than tortures of the body, and Apokolips has mind-probers aplenty.
  • Mega Man Defenderof The Human Race: Bass has his brain hijacked by the Stardroids, giving them access to his memories and knowledge of Earth so they can prepare for the invasion. Even scarier is that they did so through his power source, and someone who wasn't the Stardroids actually possessed him briefly.
  • Red Fire, Red Planet: Prior to the story, Brokosh acquired entry codes to the Sol system by ripping them straight out of the mind of a Starfleet captain with his telepathy.
  • Thousand Shinji: The main character constantly probes other people's minds to find out things about them, figure out their intentions or extract information. Being a telepath, he doesn't need a machine.
  • Visiontale: Most frequently Performed by Pauline via telepathy, usually to check monsters' stats, but every character can do it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avatar: The Way of Water: After Spider is captured by the Recombinant Quaritch and brought back to Bridgehead City, General Ardmore puts him in some kind of high-tech interrogation machine to find out any information about Jake and his family's whereabouts. The thing scans his brain, rendering the scanning on a holographic display while flashing all sorts of imagesbefore his eyes in a rotating apparatus, and it's visibly painful and causes his nose to bleed (it probably would have killed him had Recombinant Quaritch not stopped the process).
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: When the Greater Order of the Quasi-Dead probe Riddick's mind to learn more about him.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Man of Steel: Lois mentions that Zod and his followers used one on her off-screen. Superman says he was subjected to it as well. In his case this leads to a hallucination where Zod shows him his plans for Earth, and he sinks into a field of human skulls.
    • Zack Snyder's Justice League: Steppenwolf uses a small spider-like robot that seeks useful informations in the mind of its victim and holographically displays them. Cyborg destroys it during the battle in the tunnels.
  • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. The aliens demonstrate their power on a captured general, using a beam that exposes his brain as they make him reveal various military secrets.
  • Flash Gordon (1980): "We're going to empty your memory as we might empty your pockets... Doctor." Dr. Hans Zarkov is subjected to the effects of some sort of twisted alien gizmo that's supposed to erase his mind; he must struggle valiantly to keep his memories intact.
  • Inception is based on this. It is about a group of people who, using a special device, enter someone else's dreams, normally to extract key information.
  • The Matrix: When Agent Smith and the other agents have captured Morpheus, they have him restrained in a chair undergoing some kind of interrogation involving electrodes on his scalp and what looks like an injection of some kind. Another character notes they're "breaking into his mind—it's like hacking into a computer".
  • Mom and Dad Save the World: Tod uses one on Dick to figure out what it is that makes Marge love him. The device apparently reads surface thoughts, as the first thing that comes up on the machine is "My back hurts."
  • Planet of the Apes: Used twice in the original film series.
  • The President's Analyst starts to crack under the pressure of his job, imagining spies are out to get him (and they are). He anxiously rants about "Dr. Chin Hu and his electrodynamic process of thought reform." He's ultimately abducted by The Phone Company, whose mind probe technology is way more sophisticated and dangerous than Hu's.
  • Star Wars:

  • H. Beam Piper's future history usually used the polyencephalographic veridicator, an apparently unbeatable Lie Detector, but in The Cosmic Computer it turns out The Federation also had a mind probe (restricted to military/intelligence use):
    "We'll get anything we want out of you," Conn told him. "You know what a mind-probe is? You should; your accomplices used one on my father's secretary. She's a hopeless imbecile now. You'll be, too, when we're through with you. But before then, you'll have given us everything you know."
    Kelton began to protest. "Conn, you can't do a thing like that!"
    "A mind-probe is utterly illegal; why, it's a capital offense!" Ledue exclaimed. "Conn I forbid you..."
    "Judge, don't make me call those guards and have you removed," Conn said.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • "The Dying Night": Dr Asimov's Psychic Probe is a technology that can extract information from people's unconscious memories. It's used as a threat because people who are subjected to the Probe often suffer permanent damage. The detective who fingers the culprit points out that this damage is due to mishandling or from resisting it.
    • Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus: In their efforts to figure out why people are blacking out, some of the victims are subjected to a psychic probe, but to no avail.
    • The Psychic Probe in Isaac Asimov's Robots-Empire-Foundation novels is very complicated. Because the series were originally independent from one another, there are multiple descriptions of what, exactly the probe does; in some cases it directly reads the subjects mind, whereas in others it provides information in the abstract that has to be interpreted by a psychologist. Universal across its portrayals, however, is the warning that it causes severe memory loss and brain damage if used improperly, although in skilled hands it does no worse than cause a few days of weakness. The one time a Psychic Probe does appear in actual usage (The Currents Of Space), it is used to remove a surface emotion, except that, by mistake, it removed a similar, much deeper feeling — and everything in between, reducing the subject to an infantile state that could neither read, write, speak or even feed or clean himself. One of the main characters (a rich noble) has a secretary who has been probed into complete loyalty, while another is rumored to use such people for certain other purposes. "The General (Foundation)" showed that a probe could be blocked by technological interference, although the (technologically illiterate) users thought that the lack of results was because the subject had been isolated for so long that his brainwaves were too alien for the probe to understand. After the failure to probe Lathan Devers, the Emperor's Privy Secretary used his own "psychic probe" to get information from Devers: He offered him $100,000.
  • Literature Catseye 1961: Zul argues that killing the animals will be a mercy, since they will be subjected to this and then killed if the Patrol gets them.
  • City of Bones (1995) by Martha Wells: The Inhabitants can torturously invade human minds for information, to generally incapacitating effect. Krismen like Khat were bio-engineered with an innate Psychic Block Defense.
  • In The '80s pulp series Doomsday Warrior, the Freefighters in the Invaded States of America have hypnotic blocks that prevent them revealing their bases under torture, but the KGB develops a 'mindbreaker' that can overcome this conditioning. When the hero uses a captured mindbreaker to interrogate a Soviet officer, he's so horrified at the result he forbids its use for any future interrogations.
  • Dune has Ixian Probes in the old Imperium and the more intense T-Probe from the scattering as a major concern for the protagonists in Heretics and Chapterhouse: Dune
  • Fingerprints: Rae can use her Psychic Powers to mind-probe people by pressing her fingertips against theirs. The person on the receiving end only feels a slight tingle.
  • Hammer's Slammers: Partially subverted, particularly in the story Interrogation Team. There, the mind probe is semi-painless and takes the form of a directed hallucination. BOTH the interrogator and the person being interrogated are given the drug, and a second interrogator asks questions while the first, in rapport with the victim, experiences his/her memories as the questions are asked. The drug in question is a combination truth serum and hallucinogen, and is described by the first interrogator as akin to a drug high. In this particular story, the interrogat-ee comes from a heavily defended town, a "red-pill target" - and when the authorization to nuke the town is given, the interrogator shares one last vision with the interrogated person - as he envisions his baby girl's eyeballs melted by the nuclear blast. Both the interrogator and the interrogated individual were disconnected from the machine when it happened. David Drake does not write nice stories — perhaps because he WAS an interrogator assigned to the 11th Cavalry during The Vietnam War.
  • Harry Potter: Legilimency, particularly as portrayed in the movies.
    • It's actually portrayed a bit worse in the books, though you don't get to see it. Voldemort essentially destroys the mind of Bertha Jorkins through Legilimency (possibly combined with the Cruciatus curse) who had had a Memory Charm placed on her, shattering her mind in the process. Then he kills her, because she has no mind anymore and thus is now worthless.
    • But it can also be used in a way similar to the use of veritaserum, as a much less painful and more reliable alternative to torture.
    • To give you an idea of how good at Occlumency Snape was: unlike Harry, who eventually found the power to block Voldemort outright with emotions Voldemort couldn't handle, Snape was not only able to block Voldemort with Occlumency but do it in such a way that Voldemort didn't even know he was being blocked. And he kept that up for seventeen years.
  • The Machineries of Empire: The High Calendar gives the Rahal faction the power to "scry" people's minds for information, although they have to interpret symbolic "signifiers" rather than read their thoughts directly. Unfortunately, it traps the target in agonizing hallucinations as a side effect.
  • The Norby Chronicles, by Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov:
  • Ordeal in Otherwhere: Thorvald, discussing Lantee's capture, tells Charis that he's not been mind-locked, and the Company men may use this on him. In fact, he put himself into a mental prison that at least kept them from using it.
  • An Outcast in Another World: A Mind Mage is used to threaten a prisoner who refuses to give up vital information about the location and capabilities of the main character. While the mind probe isn't actually carried out, the fact that refusing to spill the beans will only result in the Mind Mage extracting the information anyway — using methods that may result in brain damage — causes the prisoner to fess up.
  • Rod Allbright Alien Adventures has a benign version: Rod allows several members of the Mentat to read his mind with their Psychic Powers because they have a common goal and vastly more expertise to understand things he's seen. When the Ting Wongovia does the probe, Rod gets snatches of Ghost Memory from them; when senior Mentat members do one, Rod doesn't even notice that they did it in a second as soon as he agreed.
  • The Skylark Series by E.E. "Doc" Smith features a mind-reading machine which ranges in effectiveness from the consensual, mutual sharing of knowledge (the Educator) right up to ripping information out of the most unwilling subject. It even works on the dead, if the brain is fresh enough and undamaged. When Dick Seaton is done scouring the mind of a hostile and uncooperative alien for vital information concerning an impending attack on Earth, Seaton finds to his dismay that he's killed it.
  • In The Star Kings duology by Edmond Hamilton, the protagonist is captured by a villain, who tries to extract a valuable secret from him with a Mind Probe. According to the villain, a few hours would have left him a mindless husk, but since the first minute showed the subject is not the man they're looking for, he got away with just a very severe headache.
  • Star Wars Legends: Darth Vader can do this to people casually, probing their minds long enough to know if they're up to something.
    • Death Star: A character senses Vader's attention and it freaks her out, so she instinctively shuts him out by concentrating on the image of a blast door closing and sealing. He decides that she's strong-minded, and, although that interests him, ultimately he does nothing, because he managed to remind himself of Padmé.
    • Splinter of the Mind's Eye: Leia has a BSOD when faced with another round with a Mind Probe, meaning she almost loses it off-screen. One of the things that Vader does is make her believe that her father needs that information — then, that she's burning alive and will die if she doesn't tell him.
  • Thousand Sons: In Ahriman: Sorcerer, Ahriman starts telepathically probing the mind of the captive Inquisitor Iobel for the location of the Athenaeum of Kallimakus. Or at least, that’s what she assumes is happening. In reality, Ahriman has pulled her mind into his own in a hostile Mental Fusion so that he can directly sift through her memories. Once she realizes this, a Battle in the Center of the Mind ensues as she starts to fight back with her own psychic powers.
  • Tunnels has the Dark Light, a device used by the Styx for interrogation. It also has a Mind Rape setting which is much less frequently used, as it leaves victims in no condition to answer their questions.
  • Veniss Underground: There are professionals called Psychewitches who can use machines to extract memories from people in stasis and show them to others. Unusually for a mind probe, the process is actually more dangerous to the mind of the person receiving the memories than the mind of the person being probed.
  • Wyrm: Done twice by Wyrm. Both times it has an effect like Mind Rape — the first time, Wyrm wasn't expecting it to be so traumatizing; the second time, Wyrm intentionally made it is traumatizing as possible.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Variation on Angel, where the mind probe was a burrowing demon that Wolfram and Hart let into Lorne's head to steal the information he had from reading Cordy.
  • Done without technology in Babylon 5 - telepaths simply rip the information from their captive's minds, evidently causing a great deal of pain and a high probability of permanent damage.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Space Museum" and "Frontier in Space" both feature mind probes, and the Doctor doesn't seem too worried about them: in the latter serial he even claims to have once blown one up because he simply told it the truth (he was going to meet a pink elephant, a giant rabbit, and a purple horse with yellow spots), and the device had been unable to accept it. This is Not Hyperbole when the Doctor is then interrogated and—sure enough—blows up the mind probe because it refuses to believe he's telling the truth. Later they capture one of the notoriously simple-minded Ogrons, and the Doctor says it's a waste of time as he has the best defense of all—stupidity. "He doesn't have a mind to probe."
    • This is contradicted by the "No! Not the mind probe!" reaction of Castellan in "The Five Doctors". However it's likely the Time Lords have more sophisticated probes for their more advanced minds. When the Gallifreyan Mind Probe is used on Cinder in Engines of War it proves incredibly painful—apparently it could kill a human.
    • Poor Adric in "Castrovalva". So many companions before him have been captured and tortured by Big Bads, but he may be the only one to spend an entire story strung up while the Master probes his brain. Even if the kid's ramblings in other stories break your ears, his desperate pleadings of "NO! PLEASE! DON'T MAKE ME DO IT!" when the Master uses the forcibly extracted computations to try and kill the Doctor will break your heart.
    • In "Doomsday", the Daleks reveal their own form of the "mind probe": their suckers can extract brainwaves from other species. Daleks being Daleks, this cooks the subject's entire head to a crisp.
  • The Aurora chair used by Scorpius in Farscape, as well as methods (that can cause hallucinations) used by the Scarrans. (One might also count the neural chip Scorpius put in John Crichton's head as another, alternate method.)
  • On Heroes, Parkman's mind-reading powers eventually evolve to this degree. He uses the Mind Probe in the Dark Future, whereas Present-Day Parkman finds it simpler to just command people to tell him the truth, seeing as how he's also developed mind control powers.
  • Sticking fingers into a person's head is the favored method of Brainiac on Smallville, not surprising since this nanotech version of the character was clearly inspired by SG-1's human replicators.
  • The human Replicators in Stargate SG-1 (and the Asurans in Stargate Atlantis) put their fingers in your brain, extract the necessary information through causing dreamlike delusions, and take them out. This really, really hurts.
    • Interestingly, whether or not the method works depends on the mental prowess of the victim. In one episode, after Doctor Weir is brought back to life with Replicator nanites, the team infiltrates the Replicator city to steal a ZPM. Weir is captured and subjected to mind probe showing terrible things happening to the rest of the team until - surprise! - it's revealed that she's the one inducing delusions in the Replicators, and the team is actually making its escape from the city completely unhindered. Then stuff blows up.
    • Also popping up in SG-1 was a frightening spiky ball thing that Anubis implanted in Thor's brain to literally download his knowledge into the ship's computer. It later turned out to be a good thing - when the original Thor was comatose and essentially a vegetable, SG-1 was able to pull Thor's consciousness out of the computer so it could be downloaded into a new cloned body.
  • Star Trek has had a number of these, most notably the Klingons' mindsifter and a corrupted "therapeutic" device for the mentally ill. By The Next Generation the Romulans are well known for theirs (simply called Mind Probes).
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the chilling episode "Frame of Mind", Riker finds himself shifting between two realities, one where he's a starship officer acting out a play about a man locked up in a mental asylum, and another where he's a man locked up in a mental asylum who imagines being a starship officer. He eventually concludes that both realities are a Lotus-Eater Machine as he wakes up in a laboratory where the aliens who captured him are trying to probe his mind for information. Riker's mind was trying to resist the probe and created the dream (from recent memories of the play) and he experienced that struggle as a dream that pulled from his recent memories and feelings from acting in the play and identifying with his character's struggle.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Homaged in "Thirty Days" when the Delaney sisters, playing the "Twin Mistresses of Evil" in a hammy scifi holodrama, have the hero's sidekick (played by Ensign Harry Kim) chained up so they can use the terrible Brain Probe, which they promise will turn him into their groveling slave ("By the time we've finished, you'll be begging to tell us everything you know!"). Harry does not seem particularly averse to the idea.
  • In the Torchwood episode "Sleeper", the team use a mind probe on unwitting sleeper agent Beth, causing her to reveal her alien nature, the implant in her arm, and to tell her "name, rank and serial number" whenever asked a question. It's a very painful process (making for rather uncomfortable viewing).
    Ianto: Remember what happened last time you used it?
    Jack: That was different. That species has extremely high blood pressure.
    Ianto: Oh, right. Their heads must explode all the time.
  • In the V: The Final Battle miniseries, one of the heroes gets caught and put into a "Conversion Chamber" which pumps terrifying hallucinations into her mind with the purpose of brainwashing her. She nearly dies during the process, and is rescued before it can be completed. However, she notices some lingering after-effects (notably, her switch from using one hand to the other.) She's also highly susceptible to manipulation by the Big Bad, who takes advantage of this fact to engineer an escape after being captured by the heroes. The trope is somewhat subverted with Diana noting that humans are proving resistant to the Conversion process, which makes it impractically slow to use beyond vital individuals they need under their control. When simple interrogation is called for, Diana is more than happy to use older methods like torture to get the job done.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons supplement Lords of Madness explains that in the rare cases a prisoner is immune to an Illithid's psychic questioning, the Mind Flayers can make use of a device called a "thought extruder." Once the Illithids use their tentacles' natural enzymes to make a fist-sized hole in the subject's skull, they stick the device's needles into the prisoner's brain to more directly read the subject's mind. It takes a minute to get an answer to a question asked in this manner, but the answer is always truthful, and unless the victim makes a successful Fortitude save, their Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma are all permanently diminished with each question... and once the interrogation is complete, they have to make a Wisdom save to avoid going insane from the experience. So, not much fun for the interviewee.
  • Escape Tales Low Memory reveals this during chapter 3 where the victim and suspect are being examined to determine what happened. The objective of the chapter is to manipulate the input data.
  • GURPS actually calls this Mind Probe.
  • Some Magic: The Gathering cards seem to be based on this trope. Examples: Psychogenic Probe, Psychic Possession, Mind Extraction.
  • So does Paranoia, as a mutant ability instead of a device. It's not particularly subtle, causing unconsciousness.
  • In Rocket Age the Europans have access to the Neural Linkage System, a device that replaces two of their fingers, and allows them to either link into Europan and Ancient Martian devices or forcibly create a psychic connection with someone.

    Video Games 
  • The first Ape Escape game, despite its generally light-hearted and humorous nature throughout, features this just before the Final Boss fight. Specter, using his telekinetic powers, bombards Spike with plasma, goading him to become his Brainwashed servant, or experience greater pain. It's implied that this was the very method used to brainwash Spike's friend Jake. Fortunately, Spike has the Heroic Willpower to resist it.
  • In Betrayal at Krondor, Gorath is a dark elf who seeks out the humans to convince them to nip the war his kind is planning against them in the bud, because he knows his people can't risk the losses. After being escorted to someone in authority - Prince Arutha, Lord of the West - he is subjected to this to find out if he's being sincere. Which doesn't really work, as he apparently has subconscious defences, so the jury remains out on him for the rest of the game.
  • Halo: The Flood gain access to a host's memories when they infect a person, and they have a hive-mind. Therefore, when Captain Keyes is infected in Halo: Combat Evolved, he has to make a superhuman effort to keep the parasite from learning information integral to the survival of the good guys until the Master Chief shows up to put him out of his misery.
  • The Ethelite of the Eltham family in Nasuverse (specifically, Melty Blood) is a mind-probe/control combination - because of how small and thin it is (a nano-filament) targets generally have no idea that information is being sucked out of them. Canonically, the reason why everyone hates them.
  • X-COM: UFO Defense features Mind Probes, which tell you the rank/stats of enemy aliens.
    • Those are just the non-attack version. Psi-Amps and training allow humans to attack aliens mentally. Aliens are under no such restrictions: they can attack without special devices and have a rape old time.
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown features something similar devised by Dr Vahlen for overcoming the language barrier, which seems to be some sort of souped-up MRI scanner... and invariably ends up killing whatever alien they subject to it. Descriptions of the process imply painful, invasive brain surgery.
  • Albedo combines this with Mind Rape in Xenosaga's first Episode. It's more obvious in the (supposedly censored) U/C version (where it actually has all those flashy lights), but even in the JP version, the goal was to find the Y-Data in MOMO (supposedly the last complete copy). He added the Mind Rape for an apparent trap later on.

  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta:
    • Alex's captor has been doing this to him for pretty much the entire comic.
    • Eggplant goes into Samus' mind to force some information out of her. She breaks him instead. Merely by staring at him.
      Samus: When trying to extract information using mental effects... make sure you have the stronger will.
  • In Captain Ufo, Dr. Marcuus invented one of these some times before the beginning of the series, which gets her in trouble with the law untill Celeste "recruits" her and her machine.
  • Elf Blood has TKO attempt a remote Mind Probe on Mara's father. He turns out to be an incredibly power mage, and is not too pleased at being spied on...
  • Averted in Errant Story, as Sarine offers to submit to one to prove she isn't concealing anything about what her fellow elves were up to. The circumstances suggest that it's an unpleasant proposition. Fortunately, the Tsuirakuans don't take her up on it.
  • Any, The Empath from M9 Girls!, can read the most prevalent emotion of a person, and can force her way into the most deep emotions. Strong wills can block Any's attempts at emotion reading.
  • Redcloak mentions using them on his prisoner O'Chul in The Order of the Stick. When it doesn't work, he just convinces himself O'Chul must have some special resistance.
  • Questionable Content has a benign version: The powerful AI "Spookybot" reluctantly enters Bubbles' mind in an attempt to recover memories that Bubbles had lost. Although it isn't harmful or even uncomfortable to the probed AI, Spookybot has ethical objections to intrude on someone's mind and considers it "just gross" to know someone so intimately.
  • Schlock Mercenary has mindripping, which is mostly left offscreen, but culminates in a complete cellular disassembly of the subject's brain to tease out every last bit of data.
  • Trying Human: EBE1 subjects Hue to one when he finds out he is disobeying him. The latter is not happy about it.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Ultron from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has an AI patterned after the human brain. When he decides to eliminate chaos by eliminating everyone in the world, he confronts SHIELD's acting director, Maria Hill, and steals some nuclear missile codes from her brain.
  • In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Buzz's blueskinned second in command, Mira Nova, has the ability (like all her race) to rummage through memories by literally sticking a hand in the person's brain. This is a side-effect of phasing powers, so all is good.
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Where No Duck Has Gone Before", the aliens "strip the data [about how to get to Earth]" from Launchpad's mind.
  • Exo Squad: In Season 1's final arc, Phaeton subjects Commander Marsh to a potentially-fatal mind probe to determine if Marsala's sudden defection to the Neosapien Republic is legitimate or not. It's not, but Marsala never told Able Squad about his plan because he knew Phaeton would mind probe his squadmates, so Marsala successfully fools Phaeton until he can attempt to capture him.
  • Subverted in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, when Mentok tries to Mind Probe Ernie Devlin and can't because of a metal plate in the daredevil's head. He's also thwarted by cops wearing aluminum foil hats at one point.
  • A very literal example in Invader Zim: these seem to be fairly commonly used by the Irken Empire as screw-like probes jammed into victim's heads.
    • In the episode "Zim Eats Waffles", Zim has a human test subject with a large happiness probe stuck in his head.
    • The megadoomer episode also showed the enslaved workers on a conquered world turned into package shipping planet to all have these.
  • Some form of this is used on the Question in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Question Authority". It causes him to hallucinate about an alternate Bad Future. Question's only response (apparently even after a week of being tortured) is to repeat random theories.
  • In the Kim Possible movie 'So the Drama', Doctor Drakken uses a mind probe to take the plans for the Hephaestus Project from Mr. Dr. Possible's mind and use them to make his Lil' Diablo toys. He also tried (and failed) to use lesser mind probing devices on one Dr. Freeman in the episode 'Car Trouble'.
  • Parodied in various Looney Tunes cartoons, usually with Bugs Bunny outwitting the Evil Scientist trying to swap Bugs' brain with whatever happened to be at hand.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), the Triceraton invaders use this on Donatello to try and find out where the scientist they're pursuing has gone. But Splinter provides him with psychic assistance, and Don resists the probe.
  • Transformers occasionally uses this:
    • Soundwave's toy bio states that he is "Able to read minds by monitoring electrical brain impulses." This ability is only used a couple of times in the first season of The Transformers.
    • In a second-season episode of the original cartoon, Megatron tried to use the Psycho-Probe on an heiress to discover her father's energy formula; her Walking Techbane nature protected her, however. Amusingly, it was Soundwave himself who operated the device, foregoing (or forgetting about) his own mind-reading ability.
    • In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, the Predacons repeatedly mind-probe a kidnapped human scientist; sometimes this yielded useful information for them and sometimes... not. Despite claims of the probe's dangerous nature, he seems to survive the experience pretty well. (In an awesome bit of homage, it's described in the exact terms as the G1 version, to the point that the TF Wiki puts both versions on one page.)
    • Transformers: Prime brings the Cortical Psychic Patch, allowing one character to enter another's mind. It's been used multiple times in the series for various reasons (usually Mind Rape).