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Psychic Block Defense

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Orpheus: Wait, there's something strange about you, doughy mystery man. I sense... [concentrating] the presence of...
Dr. Killinger: Your powers are useless on me, you silly billy.
[Orpheus screams, gets a bloody nose, and collapses on the floor]
Dr. Killinger: You have until noon tomorrow to vacate the premises. Good day.

The Psychic Block Defense is a step up from Psychic Static, it stops an enemy using a Mind Probe, Telepathy, and various forms of Mind Control from getting at the owner's juicy brainmeats by putting up the mental equivalent of a Blue Screen of Death. It's a step up because it's always on, and slapping, distracting or KO'ing the defender won't shut down the defense. To continue the computer metaphor, this is to do with it being a "hardwired" defense rather than one that is executed after startup.

It comes in two flavors: specific memory blocks and full mind defense. The former is a passive defense used to protect sensitive secrets from enemies, and may even be doubly defended if the owner isn't aware he has them in the first place. The latter is (usually) a much more active defense from being taken over, it will give enemies a Poke in the Third Eye if they put their brains where they don't belong, and may even turn the tables and let the defender sneak into the invader's mind. A variant of the latter will simply No-Sell the mind reading attempt; no matter how hard the psychic tries to get at the person's mind, they get no feedback, and no success—the mind will likely read as a "blank".

One of the most impressive things about this trope is the variety of ways it can be represented. Frequently it manifests with a theme regarding the character's organization or whoever installed the block, as a form of signature. For example, a servant of the Milkman Conspiracy may have the details of their secret base protected inside an unbreakable mental milk bottle that can only open with a specific code phrase. Even a non-psychic can have one with the right training, or thanks to a friendly psychic installing one.

Inferior shields will allow the attacker to know you're hiding something. A better shield will leave an attacker uncertain, because the attacker won't know whether or not you're actually trying to hide anything. A really good shield may let the invader think he got access to what he was searching, and feed them false information. This is also the best defense to employ against something or someone trying to find you with Psychic Radar.

Insanity Immunity is a Sister Trope, where the immunity/resistance to psychic invasion or interference is due to inherent madness. If an attempt at mind reading or mind control results in nothing, that is a No-Sell. See also Immune to Mind Control and Battle in the Center of the Mind.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In A Certain Magical Index, an unexpected side effect of Misaka's electricity powers is immunity to psychics, as her natural electromagnetic fields interfere with their mental signals. Touma is also mostly immune to telepathy due to Imagine Breaker, though one exceptionally powerful psychic was barely able to get a thought into his head (which would have instantly been erased if he had so much as touched his head with his hand).
  • Inverted in Code Geass by mind-reader Mao. Instead of the victims of his Geass trying to block him out, he tries to block out everyone else.
  • Tohma's Black Knight form in Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force gives him this in addition to other abilities. It blocks off attempts at reading his mind and sending telepathic thoughts to him, which is as much a liability as it is a boon since the only way he could communicate with his Cute Mute love interest was through her Psychic Powers.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: After Rimuru's Great Sage evolves into Wisdom King Raphael, Raphael gains enough strength and awareness to not only recognize when someone is trying to mind-probe Rimuru but can also block them out at her discretion.
  • In The Disastrous Life of Saiki K., three characters are immune to Saiki's telepathy: Nendo, due to his low intelligence, Touma, due to having too many thoughts in his head to parse, and Kusuke, who wears a device specifically made to block out mind reading.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Kurama does this in the Sensui arc when he comes up against a mind reader, showing that he's capable of completely blanking out his thoughts even while concocting Batman Gambits. As he had just been forced to do something that triggered his Berserk Button, it doesn't end well for the mind reader. After the Curb-Stomp Battle, Itsuki speculates that, since Kurama is Really 700 Years Old, his mind is too ancient and layered for simple psychics to read.

    Comic Books 
  • 2000 AD:
    • Judge Dredd: As shown during The Cold Deck, Judge Dredd is shown to be capable of resisting psychic probes if he concentrates enough. The psi trying to probe him compares his mind to a closed fist.
    • Shakara: When Oberon Sneer tries to read Shakara's mind, he gets way more than he bargained for. The entire area explodes and it disables every psychic on the planet. Sneer is sitting in ground zero, mindlessly gibbering only one word: "Shakara".
  • ClanDestine: Will Chance (aka William Destine) can do this; the specifics of how it works aren't really explained. His oldest sister, Kay, is a powerful telepath who completely lacks Mind over Manners, so it's less surprising that William can do this than that so few of his siblings seem to have tried to do something similar.
  • Deadpool is not actually immune to mind reading; reading his mind is just as easy as reading anyone else's. The problem is making sense of what's going through his mind at any given moment. Emma Frost tried reading his mind and it was like listening in on a loud party where everyone is talking. Like Gambit below, this disorder is sometimes so great that telepaths are mentally taxed by trying to read him, to the point where Cable was once able to burn out an excess of psychic energy simply by going into Deadpool's mind.
  • In ElfQuest's "Rebels" title, Chandra is described as "no training, but her natural shields are too strong to punch."
  • In Funky Koval, Funky is completely immune to Droll attempts at mind reading. Not even the Great Planner can break through, which makes Funky unique enough to become the Drolls' representative on Earth over the duplicitous Visa-Vinego.
  • Grifter initially had pretty strong psychic blocks, as result of Zealot teaching Cole how to remove (as well as recover when necessary) his Psychic Powers, making his mind almost impossible (according to Tao) to break into. Emphasis on almost, though, seeing as Tao did eventually find a way in. Later on, Lynch gives Cole all-new, even more powerful psychic blocks, to the point where Cole is now immune to Peter Grimm's powers (which can even cut through Holden Carver's defenses and are basically more powerful than even Tao's).
  • Tabitha Smith from Nextwave has permanent mind control defense. More specifically, she has no mind to control.
  • In IDW's Transformers comics, Soundwave's telepathy allows him to read the minds of every Transformer and he eventually develops ways to use it on organics to. Then he tries to use it on Onyx Prime and Liege Maximo and he hears dead silence. Maximo actually dares him to try it and jeers at the deeply shaken Soundwave when he fails.
  • In Violine, Violine can't read Marushka's mind. Neither can her father, François. It turns out it is because Marushka has Hypnotic Eyes, which block Violine's and François' powers.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): In the Golden Age (before later writers made her able to fly) Wonder Woman had low-grade telepathic abilities that allowed her to shrug off or completely ignore attempts at mind control and other telepathic intrusions. It also allowed her to make Mental Radio "calls" without having a mental radio with her, which meant she could remotely control her plane as it had a Mental Radio receiver.
  • X-Men:
    • In recent issues, it's revealed that Cyclops, despite not being a telepath, has a small box inside his mind that Emma can't move or open, which contains secrets to do with the safety of the X-Men. Jean taught him how to do it.
    • The very nature of Gambit's bio-electric powers render him very difficult to mind-probe — Professor X compared reading his thoughts to trying to grasp a snake coated in oil. Not impossible, but certainly mentally taxing and liable to hurt the Cajun just as much. He also has purposely-placed psi-blocks. He lived among four of the world's most powerful telepaths for years while hiding the fact that he used to work for Mr. Sinister and helped create the Marauders.
    • Storm is another X-Man whose powers make her naturally difficult for telepaths to read, to the point where the Professor compared reading Storm to attempting to grab a charged lightning rod during a thunderstorm.
    • Weapon X's agents tend to all have this ability to greater or lesser degrees: Wolverine and his genetic child X-23 have both exhibited a degree of resistance to powerful telepathy, while Fantomex has a much stronger version, having had his brain decentralized during his transformation to Weapon XIII. Deadpool above was also a Weapon X operative, and like Wolverine and X-23 has a Healing Factor that may or may not play a part in their shared telepathic resistance.
    • Both Magneto and the Juggernaut possess helmets that act as psychic defenses, usually against Professor X.
    • Magneto's Noble Top Enforcer Exodus also has this ability, being a high-order telepath on the level of Charles and Emma. When a trio of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s top telepaths attempted to neutralize him (with suicide compulsions, pain/pleasure loops, and attempting to isolate his right cerebral hemisphere all at once), his only reaction was to contemptuously note that "Even dogs can be trained to walk" before effortlessly knocking all of them unconscious.
    • During the Operation Zero Tolerance story the government operative Bastion displayed this ability, being completely immune to all the telepathic probes of both Professor X and Cable. Eventually, The Reveal was made that Bastion was not actually human at all, but rather a Ridiculously Human Robot.
    • Xavier discovers that Illyana Rasputin has this not long after she emerges from Limbo as a teenager. He can communicate with her telepathically but is unable to read her memories.
    • The proliferation of this amongst their enemies is lampshaded by Iceman, noting that once all they had to do if they couldn't win normally was hold off their opponents long enough for Xavier to arrive. He ribs Rachel's current inability to do anything telepathically to their opponent after his point. Rachel was not amused, and since she's also an enormously powerful telekinetic, it didn't unduly slow her down.
    • Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man had a very resilient mind even from the start, being one of the most powerful psychics (and beings) in the Marvel Universe. However, by the time of Uncanny X-Men (2018), he's strong enough that even while his focus is divided between controlling Magneto (who was wearing his helmet), Blob, Archangel, and Omega Red, and restraining Apocalypse, Kitty Pryde, and an anti-mutant Senator, with Psylocke describing him as "impenetrable" and Jean as "beyond my reach". Even when he's busy body-jacking Legion, it takes the combined efforts of Jean, Psylocke, the Stepford Cuckoos, No-Girl, and Sage, plus a massive lightning bolt from an enraged Storm just to separate him from Legion - which just traps Jean inside his head.
    • Cypher, whose mutant ability is to interpret and translate any language, boasts that he's encrypted his thoughts into a language of his own invention. Telepaths can read his mind as easily as anyone else's, but actually understanding it would take an unwieldy amount of time and resources.

    Fan Works 
  • Fallout: Equestria: Xenith is immune to the telepathy of the alicorns, including their Goddess. Xenith is initially unaware of this and just wonders why everyone else is responding to something she can't hear. Presumably it has something to do with Xenith being a zebra, but it's never explained. Regardless, it becomes a key part of Littlepip's Memory Gambit; she tells all the ponies only their parts in her plan and then wipes her own memories so that the Goddess can't read their minds, but Xenith is told the full plan so that she can keep it on track as necessary.
  • In a chapter of For the Love of My Friends, Ino decides to read Shikamaru's mind for some reason (I forget why..) but he stops her by picturing a psychic Labyrinth surrounding the information that Naruto is from a future.
  • In Forward, all of the "Blank"-type psychics have this capability, coupled with Anti-Magic. Empath-type psychics (like River) are unable to read the Blanks, while Inducer-type psychics are unable to influence them. In addition, the Academy has also developed implants that allow non-Blank troops to reduce the effectiveness of psychic abilities on them.
  • Used fairly often in Harry Potter fanfiction set in Order of the Phoenix where Snape is ostensibly teaching Harry Occlumency. Fanfiction being what it is, the defense usually involves Harry having sex with half the female cast and using memories of it to thoroughly squick Snape out.
  • Intelligence Factor: Miranda the Gardevoir and Soma the Slowking (both of whom have Psychic Powers themselves) are the only members of the group able to resist a Galarian Slowking's subtle hypnosis.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, after Koizumi manages to link himself with other people than Haruhi to feel their emotions, he realizes he's unable to create a link with most of the SOS Brigade. He compares his inability to create links differently depending on the person, ranging from feeling like a strong wind to being completely undetectable.
  • The legendary Saiyan in a fairy's world: Broly can use his ki to shield himself from attempts to probe or control his mind and even counterattack. The first time, he blows up the artifact Ultear was using to try to control him. The second time, he severely injures Zoldeo when he tries to use Take Over on Broly.
  • My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic: The titular Starfleet is explicitly said to have these mental shields through hard training.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim:
    • Season 2 reveals that Zim is so Ax-Crazy that his insanity actually makes it impossible for Psychic Powers to work on him. Consular leader Darth actually states that it's almost physically painful just being near him, let alone trying to get in his head.
    • The chapter after the above reveals that there's actually a way for anyone to block out the Consulars' abilities, at least as far as them passively reading the people around them is concerned. And that's to simply mentally repeat a basic phrase like "happy thoughts" over and over again like a mantra, thereby keeping any other thoughts from forming.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures and Teen Titans (2003) crossover fanfiction A Shadow of the Titans, as Word of God says, Jade has this to some degree. Because she's a higher-level Shadowkhan, she has a natural resistance to mental powers and combined with a strong will and a third factor he refuses to identify (though it's implied to be Tarakudo's presence in her mind), serves to make Brother Blood's Mind Control almost entirely a No-Sell for her.
  • In Spider-Man Chronicles Volume One: Origins, Spider-Man seems to have this. Jean Grey mentions in Chapter 49 that she has a harder time than usual sending telepathic messages to Spider-Man because she has to overcome his natural resistance to telepathy first. And more than one villain has failed to use mind control on Spider-Man thanks to his spider-sense going crazy when they try, which seems to help Spider-Man to resist long enough to stop the villain.
  • Stormwolf Adventures allows every single Force user to have this. And it's also the only Force ability that Finn is a prodigy at.
  • In The Supermen, the Martian Manhunter can't read Wesker's mind. Both Super-Speed affecting his thoughts, and Insanity Immunity, are brought up as possibilities. Wesker seems to still be unaware of this.
  • In Symbiosis League trainers are taught to shield their minds from psychic attacks, but some take it further through the use of the Mists of the Mind spell, which is designed to be complete anti-psychic spell. Anyone who enters the mists that shrouds the protected mind will be lost and unable to leave it without the spell ending.

    Films — Animation 
  • Superman vs. the Elite: Superman's mind is protected from telepathic probing by a series of psychic blocks, which Manchester Black admits are the "best he's seen." Of course, just because Superman is immune to mind probing doesn't mean that Black can't do other things with his powers, like telekinetically pinching the veins and arteries in Supes' brain.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, American Queenie has trouble using her Psychic Powers on Newt because of his British accent. This blindspot in her abilities gets her into serious trouble in the second movie when she gets lost in Paris trying to find her sister and can't understand anyone's thoughts. The language barrier is exploited by Grindelwald (who's not a native English speaker) and his followers in an attempt to get her on their side.
  • Happens in The Force Awakens. Kylo Ren tries to probe Rey for the map leading to Luke Skywalker. She resists and even counters the attempt, declaring his true feelings on his situation, driving him off to speak to Snoke.
  • This is the kind of thing that projections automatically try to do in Inception — although by default they just want the intruders out (that is, dead) — but people with the right training have much better-organized and better-armed projections. However, the actions of these projections are still unconscious. This lets Cobb turn Fischer's conscious mind against his own sub-security.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Rakka. La Résistance manufactures headgear that blocks the Mind Control of the alien invaders. They can't make enough for everyone, however, and the aliens know this. When one soldier gets his brain-barrier knocked off, the alien makes him turn his gun on the others.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • Magneto's helmet blocks out Professor X's and Jason Stryker's psychic abilities.
    • X-Men: First Class: Emma Frost can protect herself from Xavier's mind-reading powers when she activates her secondary mutation and covers herself in a diamond-like skin.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: En Sabah Nur can shield himself and his Horsemen from Professor X's telepathy.

  • Lone Wolf:
    • The Mind Shield, Psi-Screen, and Kai-Screen disciplines of the Kai Lords. They are mostly geared toward protecting from psychic combat or mental damage (which, to be honest, are a favorite of many creatures of Magnamund). Mind control is harder to defend against, and some especially powerful telepaths may manage to slip in and read Lone Wolf's thoughts while he's busy shielding his psyche from trauma.
    • Psychic attacks are in fact frequent enough in this setting that some non-Kai humans otherwise devoid of psychic powers learn to resist the basic Mindblast through willpower, like the knight order of the White Mountain. Berserk rage also provides a modicum of protection.

  • In Below, part of Brenish's skill as a Consummate Liar comes from imagining multiple "selves" for which his lie of the moment is true, and using them to slip in and out of character on a dime. Once he realizes his mind is being probed, he not only turns the tables and can read his opponent's thoughts, but he puts his internal multitudes to work creating confusion.
  • City of Bones (1995):
    • The Warder Magic Knights learn both to "read" the presence and surface thoughts of nearby people and to block off their own minds from each other.
    • Krismen are born with perfect immunity to mind-reading, leading the more racist Warders to claim that they don't have souls to read. It turns out that they were bio-engineered by the Ancients and their immunity is a defense against the Mind Probe power of their most deadly enemies, the Inhabitants.
  • In The Damned Trilogy, not only humans are immune to psychic powers of Amplitur, but applying telepathy to humans turns out to be very painful and near-fatal. Later, we find that Lepar are immune too, but they don't hurt Amplitur.
  • Deryni have what they term "shields" which can be adjusted from a complete blockage down to transparency. The more skilled a Deryni is, the more control s/he has over the adjustment. Since Deryni are also empathic, the shields are quite necessary to protect Deryni from the strong emotions of others as well as keeping their own thoughts and feelings private. Shields can be affected by head injuries or drugs like merasha, and they rapidly degrade when a Deryni dies. A few people thought to be human (Sean Lord Derry and Sir Kenneth Morgan, Earl of Lendour de jure uxoriusLat.  among them) are found to have rudimentary shields. Psychic walls can also be constructed in the minds of people (human or Deryni) who have sensitive information that must be protected.
  • Differently Morphous: Elizabeth once assigned an assistant to Dr. Diablerie with the express purpose of using his magically infused telepathy to probe Dr. Diablerie's mind for secrets; the end result was the assistant being sent to an insane asylum.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Unlike most examples of this trope, psychic defenses in this series can take various forms, rather than a simple wall/shield.
    • In most of the novels, since the White Council tightly regulates mind magics, Harry has very poor, basic defenses which the Corpsetaker can easily breach. However, in Ghost Story, due to training from Harry's faerie godmother, Molly mounts a more effective defense. Harry only gets inside because he knows the person well and knows where to look during that person's Battle in the Center of the Mind with the Corpsetaker.
  • Federation of the Hub: Mind shield devices were commercially available, and creatures known as Old Galactics could provide them to their symbionts (such as humans).
  • All telepaths in the Firebird Trilogy have three forms of this, with the strength of each shield dependent on the strength of the telepath:
    • A basic mind shield that blocks out the emotional signals of those around them.
    • A shield that keeps their own emotions under control.
    • A shield that prevents other telepaths from entering their mind, unless the other telepath is strong enough to break through the shield.
    • A fourth variant is the SpecOps amnesia block: a specialized mental technique that allows a telepath to cut off certain selected memories from his conscious mind, rendering them inaccessible by interrogation, telepathic or otherwise. Only a few specially trained mind healers know how to reverse the effects.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Occlumency skill is useful for this, among other things. And done right, it might be undetectable. One time, when Snape is attempting to teach Harry this skill in Order of the Phoenix, Snape digs too deep into Harry's memory, causing him to react badly, and Harry accidentally invades Snape's memory instead.
    • While Harry himself can't do this, The Power of Love he has prevents Voldemort from reading his mind (this is specific to Voldemort, since Good Hurts Evil).
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Learning to erect mental shields is an essential element of training Gifts, especially Mindspeech and Empathy, chiefly to prevent Power Incontinence but also to defend your thoughts against other Gifted (who often don't have malicious intent, but may simply allow stray thoughts to leak through their own shields). Using the Gift is a matter of lowering enough shields to accomplish your purpose, and otherwise they're kept raised as a matter of habit. Rarely, characters are encountered who have natural shields impervious to all but the strongest mind probes; quite often these characters are not Gifted or otherwise special.
  • John Carter of Mars: For some unexplained reason, Martians can't read John Carter's mind at all. However, he can read theirs just as easily as they can each other.
  • Known Space:
  • Lensman: Both mechanical and mentally generated thought screens are very common. Mechanical thought screens will stop telepathic probes by minds of second stage and lower but will barely even slow down the probes of third-stage minds. Mechanical screens are also vulnerable to being physically switched off or sabotaged, either by the hostile telepath or by an unprotected creature that the hostile telepath mentally controls. Mentally generated thought screens are immune to being physically switched off but can be penetrated by more powerful or more advanced minds.
  • Mistborn: An Allomancer burning Copper becomes immune to Emotion Control by other Allomancers burning Zinc or Brass, and both they and everyone near them become undetectable by those burning Bronze. Word of God states that both effects would be equally effective against similar effects from other magic systems of The Cosmere, such as the life-sensing ability of Awakeners.
  • Night Watch (Series): All Others have this ability, no matter their level. However, a block is unlikely to work against a stronger Other. A scene in Day Watch has Anton and Alisher (who meet for the first time) test each other's mental defenses. Anton wins not by brute force but by trickery (he feints by reducing his defenses, as if Alisher's attack has managed to batter them down, then slips "under" Alisher's own block, when the latter becomes overconfident).
  • StarCraft: Liberty's Crusade has Sarah Kerrigan remark that Arcturus Mengsk is really hard for her to read telepathically. As she puts it, title character Mike Liberty is "all surface," and Mengsk is "all depth." When she really works at reading him late in the book, she is horrified at what she finds.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe: In Dark Mirror, when Deanna is in psychic combat with her Mirror Universe self, the narration says that due to a misunderstanding when she was a child developing her powers, she visualizes her psychic defenses as literal blocks. Children's blocks, with letters and pictures of animals on them. The battle ends with Deanna calmly stepping straight through her counterpart's defenses while Mirror Deanna is battering against the blocks, because she's prepared to admit they're the same person.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Mara Jade has this power. Apparently, the Emperor taught this to her as he wanted agents that his Dragon Darth Vader can't read, due to not trusting him fully. Of course, that still didn't save him in the end.
    • According to The Jedi Path, it's very difficult for Force-sensitives like Jedi and Sith to get a fix on Shi'ido thanks to their protean biology... and that's before you take the Shi'ido's own psychic abilities into account. However, Force-sensitives are immune to the Shi'ido's mind-fogging powers, hence why the two tend to tread very carefully around each other.
  • In The Twilight Saga, Bella Swan has a completely effective, passive mind shield that prevents anyone from reading her thoughts or invading her mind. In the last book, when she becomes a vampire, she learns how to extend her shield to protect others against all forms of mental attack, and how to lower her shield to let Edward in.
  • ''Wild Cards" features some examples of this. The Takisians are trained to do this for obvious reasons, but humans can too, although their lack of mental power means that their shields will be much frailer. As shown in the first book a good Zen disciple can also block mental powers through an intense state of meditation, although this probably only works to defeat mind reading.
  • In Wings of Fire, the characters Turtle and Onyx are completely immune to NightWing mind-reading abilities. This turns out to be because of their necklaces made of stone from a comet called skyfire. Moon later gives sky fire to the rest of Jade Winglet so she won't be forced to intrude in their minds all of the time, despite Darkstalker warning her not to give away the one thing that can fight their powers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • Explained in an early episode as visualizing oneself building and maintaining a wall around them inside their mind. This is used both passively by Telepaths to block out the deafening white noise of the surface thoughts of everyone around them, and actively to defend against specific attacks from other telepaths.
    • Although this defense is primarily used by trained telepaths, it is also stated that Mundanes can do this with sufficient practice and willpower as well, assuming they know it is happening (or are paranoid enough to do this on suspicion alone).
    • One of the first demonstrations of Lyta's new Power Level after being Touched by Vorlons involved her doing this to recurring villain Bester so hard that it actually physically slaps his head back.
    • Ivanova reveals that she can do it, after training herself to resist her mother's scans. However, it turns out that it's because she herself is a latent telepath. It's strange that she wasn't tested, as, according to Expanded Universe, telepathy is passed down from the mother.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy temporarily gains telepathy, she tries to use it on Angel. He notices it and tells her that it's impossible, since like with mirrors, vampires' thoughts don't cast any reflections.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor often demonstrates the ability to do this, such as in "The Shakespeare Code" and "The Fires of Pompeii", where he is able to shield his true name, even from those already reading his mind. In "Nightmare in Silver", he also demonstrates the ability to effectively lock off entire sections of his mind, preventing a Cyber-Controller attempting to take him over from gaining Time Lord secrets.
    • In the First Doctor serial "The Space Museum", the Doctor gets shackled to a chair in which all of his mental images are broadcast onto a screen for his interrogator, who finds out the location of his companions from him, before making the mistake of explaining that this is what he's doing and showing the Doctor the screen. From then on, every question results in the weirdest images popping up on the monitor — "How did you get here?" results in an image of a penny-farthing, "Where did you come from?" results in some weird Stock Footage of sea lions swimming in the ocean, and when his captor starts yelling at him he starts making it display slightly overweight naked people. This works, but his irritated captor decides to put him through museum specimen preservation as revenge.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • "...The Ruthless Pursuit of Blood with All a Child's Demanding": Claudia can shield her thoughts from Louis when he telepathically inquires about the identity of Charlie, the young man she has a crush on.
      Louis: Who's Charlie?
      (Claudia gasps in her mind)
      Louis: Claudia, are you blockin' me? This is your father speaking.
      (Claudia smiles when she realizes that Louis can't read her mind)
    • "A Vile Hunger for Your Hammering Heart": Louis is also unable to access Claudia's thoughts during her 7-year-long absence, so he doesn't know where she has gone or what she's doing.
      Louis: [I was] sending out telepathic thoughts of remorse in every direction. But [Claudia] had shut her mind off to me for some time then.
    • Discussed by Armand and Louis in the Season 2 First Look Scene.
      Armand: [Claudia is] Particularly skilled at blocking her thoughts. You must work harder on that. I could help you hone that skill.
      Louis: Oh yeah? That'd be great.
      Armand: Good. Because I do believe I felt some trepidation when the name Lestat was uttered.
      Louis: (scoffs) Who?
  • Daniel Jackson demonstrates this in season eight of Stargate SG-1. He's been captured by RepliCarter, who is trying to probe his mind for the secrets of the Ancients, but by this point, he has Seen It All (both literally and figuratively), so he can actually recognize what she's doing and stop her. He proceeds to arm-wrestle her psychically.
  • Dukat from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is able to block Vulcan mind melds thanks to his disciplined mind. This is actually par the course for all Cardassians. Starting at the age of three, Cardassian children are put in intense mental training programs that grant them perfect recall and resistance to telepathic abilities by the time they reach high school. This goes double for members of the Obsidian Order so that they can be immune to most forms of interrogation, Vulcan mind melds included.
  • The xenophobic Devore Imperium in Star Trek: Voyager train their soldiers specifically to resist intrusion from telepaths, allowing them to better defend themselves whilst they hunt them down in their space. Although, given their well-known intolerance for telepaths, it raises the question of how they actually train or confirm they've gotten this ability?
  • Psychics on Supernatural are frequently established as being able to read minds, or at least pick up surface thoughts. When one psychic is confronted with Castiel, however, he comments that he's only getting colors.
  • In the mini-series Tin Man, DG's memories have been blocked off, preventing Azkadelia from finding the MacGuffin.
  • Torchwood:
    • This is presumably why Tosh can't read Jack's mind while wearing the pendant in the episode "Greeks Bearing Gifts". He says he could feel her "scrabbling about in there" but for some reason, she couldn't hear anything unless Jack deliberately communicated a thought. This is likely a result of his training as a Temporal Agent. Given how many psychic beings there are in the universe, an operative needs to be able to keep others out of his mind. Even Torchwood 1 provides some resistance training to weak psychic influence.
    • A more straight example from the same episode is Mary, who could control which of her thoughts Tosh heard.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, the way that Edward's tulpa generation power works makes him immune to any sort of mental manipulation. Jessica wasn't able to control him with her Mind Control pheromones, Zia couldn't read his mind, and (as a downside) he's unable to hear Jenna's telepathic speech.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions has the Mental Defense power.
  • In The Dark Eye, this is part of Resistance to Magic, which can be increased with a specific spell or elixir. Interestingly, the less intelligent creatures are, the more resistant they become. Spells break their will, not their instincts.
  • Dark Heresy:
    • Psykers with the "Living Nightmare" trait have full mind defense against mind-reading attempts: Trying to read one will give little more than white noise. Although mind control is still possible, Living Nightmare psykers have a +15 bonus to oppose mind control when compared to an equivalent character without the trait.
    • Characters with Mental Fortress essentially have the Poke in the Third Eye variant.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In First Edition, all of the psionic defense modes fit this trope except Mental Barrier (which is Psychic Static).
    • Wilders have the Volatile Mind class feature, which exhausts psions who try to use telepathy on them.
    • In 3.5th edition, using the spell detect thoughts or the psionic power read thoughts on a subject with Intelligence 26 or more (and at least 10 more points that the mind-reader) results in the spell or power ending and the mind-reader being stunned.
    • You also have the spell mind blank, which renders you completely immune to any and all mind-affecting effects for a day once invoked. It also has the added benefit of making you undetectable to divination effects from anyone less than a deity.
    • The Book of Vile Darkness has the Corrupt spell forbidden speech, which prevents the subject from speaking (or writing, gesturing, etc.) about a specific topic. This includes telepathic attempts at recovering the information, which are blocked too.
    • Ascetic PCs (with a Vow of Poverty) of at least 8th level gain Mind Shielding, which prevents their thoughts from being read or their Character Alignment being detected.
    • The "White Mask" tattoo of the Tattooed Monk Prestige Class gives a similar protection as above, as well as a substantial bonus to Bluff checks since their emotions can't be read.
    • The Cerebrex Prestige Class from Dragon Magazine gains Telepathic Immunity at 5th level. Unlike other forms of permanent immunities, it can also be turned on or off at will.
    • 5th edition Warlocks of the Great Old One get a feature called Thought Shield. It prevents other creatures from reading the Warlock's mind without their consent, gives them resistance to psychic damage, and inflicts psychic damage to any creature that attacks them mentally.
  • Eclipse Phase has the Psi Shield, Scramble, and Static psi-sleights, as well as the Psi Chameleon and Psi Defense character traits.
  • Members of the Secrets Caste of the Sidereal Exalted have the innate ability to immunize themselves and those around them from mental scrying. Furthermore, Sidereals specialized in their own unique astrological magic can feed false information to non-magical astrologers attempting to read their minds or futures.
  • Gamma World first edition had the Mental Defense Shield mutation.
  • GURPS has the Mind Shield psionic ability and the Mind Block cinematic skill.
  • In Mage: The Awakening, any mage of at least Apprentice-level proficiency in the Mind Arcanum can do this at a second's notice.
  • Mutants & Masterminds can give you resistance or outright immunity to mind-reading and psychic attacks.
  • Paranoia has the Mental Block mutation.
  • Pathfinder: Vigilantes have a Secret Identity so thorough that attempts to scry on one identity will fail if the vigilante is currently in their other identity.
  • Rifts and other Palladium Books games have a psychic ability called Mind Block, which simply prevents psychic attacks altogether while it is active. A more powerful version, Mind Block Auto-Defense, acts as an automatic defense that triggers anytime the user is under psychic attack, at the cost of a permanent reduction of the user's psychic energy capacity.
  • In Traveller Classic, psionic characters with the Telepathy ability could use the Shield power, and an Artificial Psionic Shield Helmet was on the list of available equipment. In the Mongoose edition, the Mind Shield blocks inbound and outbound Telepathic powers as long as it's up, and flat out stops the shielded individual from being picked up by Psychic Radar.
  • Along with the more common Psychic Static, the clairsentients of Trinity can learn a technique that allows them to completely bury memories and snippets of information until such time as they need to remember them. This frustrates the telepaths of the setting to no end.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Characters who hold great favor with Khorne such as Bloodthirsters and Kharn the Betrayer are completely immune to psychic powers (as a War God, Khorne views sorcerers as weaklings who cheat in order to win against charging axe-wielding maniacs).

  • All Ce-Matoran have this trait naturally in BIONICLE. It can also be achieved by rigorous training, as done by the Order of Mata Nui, though it seems to be partially derived from the person's willpower, as Brutaka noticeably struggles against the alien mind probe of Tren Krom.

    Video Games 
  • City of Heroes: The Seer Network of, main baddies, Arachnos; Which is made up of all the Charles Atlas Superpower psychics, telepathically linking to each other to reinforce their own loyalty to the Big Bad, and working so well that they patched other non-psychic baddies into it as a form of psychic security where they actually neutralize the synapses responsible for things like treason, resulting in extended mind control, outside mind reading or possession, just plain not able to operate in their brains; Consequently it also either detects double agents right away, or worse, overrides their ulterior goals turning them into triple agents.
  • Fallout offers the Mental Block perk, which inexplicably makes the player immune to The Master's psychic attacks. The player can also obtain a psychic nullifier which provides the same benefit.
  • Golden Sun: Adepts can detect when other Adepts are trying to read their mind. This is usually less of an outright block than it is an interruption (Alex turning around and sassing the guilty party aloud), a Poke in the Third Eye (Karst giving death threats through her thoughts), or a screen of Psychic Static ("Ivan, stop reading my mind!"), but during a cutscene close to the end of the first game, Isaac & friends block Sheba from trying to learn about Ivan's staff.
  • Hollow Knight: Five NPCs in total can know when their minds are read via the Dream Nail: the Seernote , the White Queennote , Bardoonnote , the Midwifenote  and the Snail Shaman. All of them except the Queen will chastise you to varying degrees for prying. The Queen is merely surprised.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Atton Rand learned to generate Psychic Static by thinking about pazaak plays during his time as a Jedi hunter for the Sith Empire. He's so used to doing it that by the time the Jedi Exile adventures with him, it's always up even without conscious thought. With sufficient Relationship Values he's able to teach the technique to the Exile as well, granting them a permanent buff to save against some Force abilities.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Nanomachines can be used to put up psychic barriers and is in fact standard issue for pretty much anyone who possesses top-secret knowledge such as the two hostages who each have one of the titular Metal Gear REX's activation codes. The terrorists having somehow gotten the DARPA chief's code by reading his mind, despite the Armstech president pointing out this shouldn't have been possible thanks to those nanomachines is Snake's first clue that something strange is going on.
  • Psychonauts: Razputin is first introduced as a badass when the local coach (a psychic himself) fails to probe his mind in the opening cutscene. Keep in mind, Coach Oleander is a psychic with years of training. Raz received little to no psychic training whatsoever.
    Coach Oleander: Armoured like a tank!
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: Max might be the President of the United States, but there are even things he's not allowed to know, as evident by trying to read Agent Superball's mind.
    Agent Superball: I am afraid that the contents of my mind are classified, sirs.
  • Star Control: The Taalo in the backstory were totally immune to the Dnyarri's Mind Control powers, the only known species that was. The Dnyarri therefore made absolutely certain to slaughter the Taalo down to the last person. In the game itself, the player can obtain the Taalo Shield, an artifact left behind by the Taalo, which blocks Mind Control for anyone using it.
  • The Ultralisk in StarCraft II is immune to all psionic abilities due to its "Frenzied" ability.
  • Koishi from Touhou Project has a variation, in that her blocks are primarily against herself. She's a Satori, a yokai with a third eye that allows them to read minds. Koishi however, grew tired of hearing people's bad thoughts about her and sealed her third eye away, which also prevented her from reading her own mind. This rendered Koishi completely thoughtless, and thus un-mind readable by virtue of not having anything to read. As such, she's "kinda dim".
  • The player pin from The World Ends with You doubles as this and a Mind Probe.
  • One of the gene mods in XCOM Enemy Within drastically reduces the modified soldier's chances of being subjected to a psychic attack and makes him or her immune to Mind Control (the soldier is stunned for 1 turn instead). Alternatively, you can use a gene mod that gives the alien attempting such a stunt a pretty powerful Poke in the Third Eye. While this doesn't reduce the chances of the attack succeeding (the soldier can carry a Mind Shield for that), it deals significant damage and resets the cooldown on all Psychic Powers.

    Visual Novels 
  • Red Psyche-Locks in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series appear whenever the truth-finding artifact magatama detects that someone is trying to hide something (the more locks, the more they want to hide it). The player character must present evidence and break the locks before they can get to the truth. Black Psyche-Locks indicate a truth buried so deep that even that person doesn't realize they're hiding it.

  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta:
    • Daos thinks this happens when he breaks through Alex's mind to see what he fears most and finds a blinking smiley face. The truth is that Alex is absolutely terrified of Evil Otto from the Berserk arcade game.
    • In a flashback, the N-Forcers are exposed to Darth Vader's Jedi Mind Trick. It fails on all of them because Protoman is a robot, Simon Belmont took Iron Will in character creation, Samus is a master of Chozo Mental Training, Ryu is a ninja, and Snake is using controller port 2 (which is how he defeats another psychic character in his home game). The Bionic Commando doesn't have this and instead threatens to blow Vader's head off with a bazooka if he doesn't go away.
  • Homestuck:
    • Vriska states that it's very difficult for her to Mind Control other trolls with Psychic Powers or a strong will, so using Aradia or Terezi is not an option. However, Sollux's "vision twofold" only grants him resistance half the time. Her powers don't work on humans very well either, as she seems to only be able to put them to sleep.
    • As Heroes of Void, Equius and Roxy are naturally immune to scrying, existing inside of dark spots in oracle's perception. This extends involuntarily to Mom Lalonde of the Post-Scratch Universe who is said to have "VISION OMNIFOLD" and even the functionally omniscient Doc Scratch couldn't detect Darkleer, Equius's ancestor. Of all things, this ability is compared to the fluid in a Magic 8-Ball.
    • Inverted with Light players. Rose is more susceptible to detection by any kind of player, including Time players. On the other hand, Light has an upper hand over Void: it has no effect on them, so a hiding Void player can easily be detected by a Light player, and the Void (the place, not the Aspect) would normally be fatal for anyone else to explore, but due to the fact that Light players handle destiny and fate, they are immune to its cosmic nature.
  • The Last Days of FOXHOUND: A quarter through the comic Ocelot and the other Foxhound members obtain special nanomachines that block out psychics, much to Mantis' displeasure. It's later revealed that the nanotech was created by studying the brain patterns of people when they're lying — essentially, the ability to lie really well, especially to yourself, makes it impossible for a telepath to pull out or manipulate your 'real' thoughts — and Ocelot is an unbelievably good Consummate Liar and was therefore always immune to Mantis. Of course, even before Ocelot was immune to Mantis' mind-reading he was able to screw with Mantis, such as by knowing Mantis would only dig deep enough into his head to see if he did anything to the coffee before drinking it — Ocelot knew he didn't have to:
    Mantis: Hmm... I see you didn't do anything to it.
    Ocelot: Of course not. I didn't even make it, actually.
    Mantis: Wait — who did?
    Ocelot: Naomi from R&D. Remember her?
    Mantis: A G-GIRL TOUCHED IT?! Gaaaah!!! She's all over my hands! I need my special soap! WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY SOAP?!
    Ocelot: Our work here is done. Let's go find Wolf.
  • Outsider: Some Loroi can learn how to disguise their mental signatures from others, making their minds impossible to detect or affect; this skill is known as lotai, and is very rare and difficult to learn. Humanity is unusual because it possesses a permanent version of this an inborn trait.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Aylee briefly has a form with this power, an adaptation against Leono's probing of her mind.

    Web Original 
  • Tall Tales: John Matteson's immunity to magic covers magical attempts to access his mind. This is first seen when Jackie tries to jump into his dreams and later explains that attempting to do so was 'like running into a brick wall.'
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Eric Mahren (later Caitlin Bardue) has this, in a sense. Prod the wrong memory, and you get to relive the sensations of being shot, or worse. It's lampshaded by one of the doctors there: "It'd take a guy like Mahren to turn his own brain into a minefield."
    • Tennyo, Fey, and Carmilla also have this. Tennyo's is just an absurdly powerful always-on mental shield, although she appears to be able to drop it partially if she chooses to. Fey and Carmilla both use permanent uses of their powers, a spell for Fey and a psychic construct for Carmilla. Anyone breaking those is also likely to break the effects containing the always-active Mind Rape level auras they have and find themselves incapacitated by lust or reverence. Carmilla also can duplicate Marhen's minefield trick by being an Eldritch Abomination.

    Web Videos 
  • In Flander's Company, this is Déborah Levinsky's sole superpower. A powerful telepath is baffled that his psychic powers can't affect her, and wonder if she's some kind of mystic Buddhist monk. The truth is that her brain is empty. Later, she's used as a Human Shield against another telepath — it works perfectly.

    Western Animation 
  • The royalty of Ooo in Adventure Time use crystals on their crowns and other jewelry to protect themselves from mind control under the Lich.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, a Tinfoil Hat serves this purpose in the Void to keep a person from forgetting what they saw.
  • Due to once time traveling through time, and sleeping with his grandmother, thereby becoming his own grandfather, Fry from Futurama lacks a delta brainwave, which makes him immune to psychic attacks and mind reading.
  • The Author of the Journals in Gravity Falls is shown to have installed a metal plate into his skull to prevent mind manipulations. Later, he developed a machine that can encrypt brainwaves to do this without such surgery. Specifically, from a certain Bill Cipher. This ends up backfiring when he needs to let himself be possessed, necessitating his brother impersonating him to do it in his place.
  • Justice League:
    • Thannagarians such as Hawkgirl have psychic block defences that keep telepaths such as J'onn from reading their minds. J'onn manages to overpower one in "Starcrossed", but the effort physically wounds him and more or less reduces the Thannagarian to a vegetative state. In "Hunter's Moon", said Thannagarian does come back having recovered at least somewhat, but is now permanently affixed to a life-supporting combat mech and has severe brain damage to the point that he's constantly confused and can barely comprehend what's going on around him.
    • Project Cadmus also develops anti-telepathy tech and equips all of their agents with it.
  • In The Venture Bros., Dr. Killinger is somehow immune to telepathy. When Dr. Orpheus attempts to read his mind, Killinger calmly stands in place until Orpheus overexerts himself and passes out from a Psychic Nosebleed.
  • Young Justice (2010):
    • We have Tigress and undercover Artemis discuss and exploit the possibility of this trope in "The Fix" when she knocks out Psimon to preserve her cover and claims that his perspective patient, a recumbent Kaldur'ham, has been infected with a telepathic virus.
    • In-universe this trope isn't used, instead opting for Psychic Static, until the Anti-life equation is shown to hide its subjects from telepathic detection.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Psychic Block Defence


"Is this a staring contest?"

Reva uses her force skills to probe Leia's mind. She resists it and ask if Reva's doing a staring contest.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / PsychicBlockDefense

Media sources: