In search of "master mindreaders": Are psychics superior in reading the language of the eyes?

Isabel Dziobek, Kimberley Rogers, Stefan Fleck, Jason Hassenstab, Stefan Gold, Oliver T. Wolf, Antonio Convit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Much of the effort to understand the brain substrate of theory of mind and empathy has involved the study of individuals with deficits in that domain, such as those on the autism spectrum. Studying individuals with presumed superior abilities in picking up social signals may yield important additional information. We predicted that psychic readers may have superior abilities and tested this by contrasting a group of 22 professional psychic readers with matched controls on a measure of theory of mind ("Reading the Mind in the Eyes" test) and a multidimensional measure of empathy [Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI)]. Although psychic readers were not superior in reading the language of the eyes, they were shown to have more cognitive empathy, as measured with the "Fantasy" subscale of the IRI. We discuss the merits of research involving "experts" in social cognition and propose other possible groups of "master mindreaders."

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-244
Number of pages5
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Brain-behavior
  • Empathy
  • Expertise
  • Mental states
  • Mindreading
  • Psychic
  • Social cognition
  • Theory of mind


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