Shouldn't telepathy be studied by neuroscience, instead of parapsychology?
Telepathy, if it exists, should be something that happens in our brain. Emotions have been a subject of neuroscience for some time now. We can now locate where fear, for instance, is produced. If someone told people, including many scientists, 50, 60 or 80 years ago, that we should search the brain for emotions, it would seem, to say the least, eccentric.
The fact that we keep pushing (the possibility of) telepathy to the boundaries of the paranormal (and therefore label it as "stuff that only lunatics believe in"), isn't it because we have preconceptions that get in the way of the search for knowledge and understanding?
Has anyone heard of a study of Telepathy by mainstream science? I'm sure that there are a few - I would like to know and would be very grateful for any links or references you could share.
grayure, I'm aware that there is cold reading and mentalism (among other things) that would explain the vast majority of telepathy claims. When I use the word, I am actually referring to the transmition of tougth(s) from one person to another. And I can give an example of an experience I think woud be interesting:
Put two people who claim have telepathic abilities separated by led walls (make sure they never met and do not know who the other is. Have them transmit words, sentences. Make sure there are two separate teams of scientists, the one with the receiver, not knowing what will be transmited. Do CAT scans and use all other means of knowing what kind of brain activity is going on.
There was an experiment, in the late 1960s or early 1970s, that had most of this conditions. If I can find a reference I will send it tio you.
Main stream scientists do study telepathy. After they found no scientific evidence for it, they move on to more productive research. Remember, scientists do not fund their own research. They have to apply for grants. If they propose frivolous projects, then they won't get funded. Of course, the funding process is not perfect, and political considerations often enter into the funding decisions, but that only means that some worthwhile projects will not be funded. Most of the time, the worthless projects are rejected. Parapsychologists are not really true scientists, so they can research anything they want as long as they can generate income with it. Writing books about their research may be a good source of income.
It depends what constitutes telepathy. You might think of it as the transmission and reception of electromagnetic radiation, or possibly morphic resonance or quantum entanglement, between two central nervous systems, but what if it's more to do with subliminal cues and a high degree of intuitive reasoning or empathy? Someone might be unusually skilled at putting themselves in another's position and think "If that were me, i would be thinking or feeling X" by simulating their position in their minds, but that might not be observable in the same way that a causal connection would be. Or, they might be subconsciously aware of someone's body language or expression and extrapolate from that. This might all be associated with physical changes in the brain, but not all functionalist accounts of consciousness see that as corresponding to mental events. You can be completely physicalist and still consistently deny that there is a one-to-one correspondance between mental and physical events because of the context of those events.
I get sympathy pains with my patients, including gynaecological pain when i'm a man. For all i know, my experience of that is completely unlike that of a woman, and i've never been sure of what it means. However, one thing i have noticed is that if i'm behind someone, i feel one-sided pain on the same side as them, but if i'm facing them it's on the opposite side. That might reflect a high degree of self-focus, or it might mean that the pain is somehow projecting "rays" into my body. You could maybe rule one out, but how would you assess degree of self-focus neurologically? It's easier to get someone to draw a capital F on their forehead.
Consequently, i think it would be more enlightening to do quantitative studies in a social context, with controlled variables but not necessarily something like an fMRI scan, which right now is probably not going to demonstrate anything useful. That means parapsychology, not neurology.