Mind control is a favourite tool of science fiction writers, it allows us to make certain characters do things that they would normally never do without the hassle of explanation. But hard science fiction worldbuilders look for explanations for things even if it is not necessary; like the evolution of our creatures to the cultural beliefs of our people.

Using things like but not limited to: biology, chemistry or technology -- how can I explain mind control without falling back on the overly used magic excuse?

What I mean by mind control is the ability for a person to be able to control the actions of another and the person being controlled is aware of what is happening.

  • $\begingroup$ Take a look at Martian Go Home, from Dan Brown. One and a half novel treat the subject. $\endgroup$
    – MakorDal
    Feb 26, 2016 at 7:26
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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "magic"? "How can I explain mind control without..." what exactly? $\endgroup$
    – enkryptor
    Feb 26, 2016 at 8:13
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    $\begingroup$ Hipnosis - Also as Hard-science fiction worldbuilder It's gratificant to crush bad writers before them become bad hollywood movie writers $\endgroup$
    – jean
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ This seems plenty specific enough to me. How mind control functions is defined as well as eliminating magic. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ See A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge, and a short story that's a near-future depiction of the same technology idea. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Feb 27, 2016 at 8:06

18 Answers 18


This is an interesting question and there are a lot of possibilities:

Computer-Human Interface
The most realistic (in my opinion) would be to have an interface for communication between Human (or animals) and some sort of computer based device. This is a thing that will be possible in the future. I think you would be able to not only send messages from your brain to the device rather also to send messages in the other direction.

The interface in the controlled brain could send electrical current to the pain and pleasure parts of the brain, allowing for a carrot and stick approach to controlling someone. See for example wirehead

As far as I know there have been a lot of experiments by CIA and other agencies trying to manipulate the human brain trough the use of drugs like LSD. Also I once heard about a Flower or something which allows mind control (think it was a VICE report or something)

Those two are the most realistic in my opinion but there are other possibilities as well such as:

  • Mind control through radio waves
  • Hypnosis
  • Psychology (Social Engineering)

English is my second (third actually :D ) language so I'm sorry if I misunderstood the question.

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    $\begingroup$ You could also add the fact that almost every action our body does is directly related to electrical signals. we could have a kind of Body control where the persons body is directly controlled by someone else, but not their mind, though they are unable to do anything about it. Computer chips or other devices could be implanted that can paralyze a person and then send its own signals, turning the human into a remote controlled car or plane. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ Vice is known for their clickbait articles so I would take anything they post with a huge helping of salt $\endgroup$
    – Pyritie
    Feb 26, 2016 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ There were a few CIA programs: MKULTRA, Project Artichoke, and Project Bluebird. There is a lot of information from the United States Senate investigations (from the mid-70s, known as the Church Committee) on this subject. $\endgroup$
    – dmgig
    Feb 26, 2016 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ The VICE documentary was concerning Scopolamine. It has been debunked thoroughly as a mind control drug here: snopes.com/crime/warnings/burundanga.asp and here: occupytheory.org/burundanga-hoax-debunked $\endgroup$ Feb 29, 2016 at 15:34


There are a variety of parasites, which, once attached to a particular host, may induce some kind of physiological or chemical change to the host's body, largely for the purpose of the parasite's reproduction (as most actions in nature are intended). For instance, the spiny-headed worm, Acanthocephala, is a parasite that requires two hosts over its lifecycle. One variety of this worm uses a particular crustacean (Gammarus lacustris), as its intermediate host.

Now, this crustacean, typically, will avoid light sources to stay out of sight and avoid predation by ducks. However, individuals infested with Acanthocephala have been observed to specifically seek out light, instead, and have been found to have massively increased serotonin levels. In this crustacean, serotonin levels have been found to positively correlate with longer mating times (during which the individuals are largely immobile), and decreased photophobic behavior.

Acanthocephala, of course, 'wants' the crustacean to be consumed by the next level up the food chain, as it is within a duck that it will enter the next stage of its life cycle, reproduce, and repeat this process via excretion and consumption by the next crustacean to come along.

This is just one example of this kind of parasitism (feel free to Google mind-altering parasites, or anything to that effect), and not all of them explicitly entice the host to engage in suicidal behavior.

To apply this in fiction, it's not entirely implausible that an engineered parasite (or even a mechanical 'parasite') could be created to induce certain neurological changes in an unwitting host. Increased suggestibility, altered mood, increased agitation... anything that is mediated through neurotransmitters could, theoretically, be amplified by changing the balance and production of those chemicals.

Edit: Here's another example of the concept, for those interested: California killifish.

Edit 2: Maximum Editation:

@YoungJohn's comment prompted a bit of thinking, and I'd like to elaborate a bit about the possible translations of this concept into science fiction, because that's where my head is at the moment. As I mentioned in my reply, ultimately when parasites, drugs, and other things mess with chemicals in the brain they are largely doing so by altering quantities and utilization of neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, etc.).

This doesn't necessarily have to be accomplished by a living organism, though it certainly could be. Depending on the level of technology available to your setting, you could very well have nanomachines slinking around in the victim's brain, inhibiting or activating receptors artificially, or generating whatever chemical is desired. Or, going the bio-tech route, as I was initially thinking when responding to this post, breeding and genetically engineering one of these parasitic critters to maximize their effectiveness for mental alteration, while likely reducing their destructive potential (unless you want them to eat the host's brain or whatever, that's your prerogative).

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    $\begingroup$ The parasite itself might not even be required. The mechanism by which the parasite causes mind control can be used (be it physiological or chemical). But the parasite example is a good way to show that such a mechanism appears to already exist by non-magical means. $\endgroup$
    – YoungJohn
    Feb 26, 2016 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ @YoungJohn Absolutely! Other folks have already mentioned drugs and the like as different vectors for effecting mental states. Ultimately, it all circles back to messing with neurotransmitters and metabolism, one way or another. Parasites happen to be a thing that I've casually researched in the past, and a subject that I find fascinating (even if they're kinda squicky at times). $\endgroup$ Feb 26, 2016 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ +1. Or nature.com/news/… parasite which makes mice (or other mammals, like humans) to be attracted to cats. $\endgroup$ Feb 26, 2016 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ My favorite parasite is this wasp that stings a cockroach. (Ok, it takes a biologist to have a favorite parasite). Afterwards, the wasp 'pilots' the cockroach like it's riding a horse and guides it back to the nest where it lays its eggs on the cockroach so the babies can eat the cockroach when they hatch. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Apr 4, 2020 at 0:01

If the people in your world know a lot more about brains than we currently do (e.g. a future time setting), some folks in that time might understand how creating electrical impulses in certain neurons can trigger certain thoughts and actions. We can already see when opening up somebody's brain and touching certain spots, that can cause them to move their fingers, legs, etc. Technology to direct electromagnetic pulses to certain spots within the body are also in development e.g. for treating cancer tumors. One could imagine a more focused machine that can operate precisely and accurately at a distance, causing certain neurons to fire and thus causing the controlled person to think or do certain things.

You could also try a psychological explanation, as (for example) many former Nazis tried to do.

If this doesn't answer your question, it may be because "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."


Have you considered drugs? Here in the now in some parts of Africa, there is a concoction made of numerous poisonous plants and animals (including the puffer fish).

Apparently, this is supposed to shock the system, so the person first falls into a coma, and when they begin to wake up, they can end up in a "highly suggestive state." I am by no means an expert on the subject, but it is something that many hypnotists talk about as well.

Now it does have some drawbacks to this explanation, as there is no way it will explain the person doing something completely out of character, and you need a person giving directions in their language, and the person isn't really fully aware, usually not even remembering the incident. But it is a currently used technique.

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    $\begingroup$ Some people experience these effects from alcohol, which is easier to find. $\endgroup$
    – WBT
    Feb 26, 2016 at 4:10
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    $\begingroup$ @WBT But these effects are over the next day, this allegedly lasts much longer $\endgroup$
    – Flotolk
    Feb 27, 2016 at 19:36
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    $\begingroup$ That puffer fish trick is thought to be the origin of the haitian concept of a zombie. $\endgroup$
    – Pharap
    Feb 28, 2016 at 10:47

That's probably difficult given our limited understanding of how the brain works. However and given the limited scope of what the OP calls "mind control", it can actually be performed through hypnosis on subjects highly susceptible to hypnosis. Usually a normal person cannot be force to do things they wouldn't normally do using hypnosis (you can't hypnotize your brother to make him go to school naked)

HOWEVER there where some tests to see if you can actually use hypnotic suggestion to make someone kill someone else (using fake guns and actors), which is supposed to be the ultimate taboo. The result is that at least one subject that was shown before to be extremely receptive to hypnosis (through more standard methods) actually pushed the trigger. Hopefully so hard to repeat that the experiment is not seen with that much credibility.

The point is that you can ask someone to do things with hypnosis but you can't make them do things that are not morally acceptable. add psychotropic drugs. always use drugs when you are a bad guy willing to mess with one's brain. Inhibiting a reaction is in the range of things a chemical can do, a lot of mental illness are treated this way. Inhibit taboo discernment and you can cure your good guy's pathological inability to kill another human being and then hypnotize him to do this totally normal thing

edit concerning the op's edit: hypnosis works to control one's action in some rare cases but the victim is blissfully unaware of what he/she is doing, he might remember doing it but the whole point is that if he was conscious he wouldn't do it. Controlling someone's body without his consent is another (trickier) question


In terms of controlling someone's body without his consent, one possible method would be to bypass the normal signals that the brain sends to the muscles and install cybernetic implants that intercept said signals, and can send their own. Only a very small portion of this exists in real life, in the form of thought-controlled robotic prosthetics like this New York Times article. These are fairly clunky, but they are getting better and it's not inconceivable a way to forge impulses from the brain could exist in the far future.

  • $\begingroup$ A bit different. That is using that person's nerve impulses to control motors/switches. The question seems to be about controlling the person's mind. $\endgroup$
    – WGroleau
    Feb 27, 2016 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ Yes but it shows that intercepting and interpreting nerve impulses is possible. I know it isn't anywhere near the technology level required for what I described. It's just a very crude proof of concept for half of the required technology for what I described. $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2016 at 5:53
  • $\begingroup$ But he's not asking to interpret the mind's outputs, but rather to control the mind itself. $\endgroup$
    – WGroleau
    Feb 27, 2016 at 5:56
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    $\begingroup$ I read the question as only requiring the physical body to be controlled. After all, if the mind was being controlled it couldn't be aware of the control, which wouldn't satisfy the OP's requirements. $\endgroup$ Feb 27, 2016 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the last sentence does imply the body, but it also says "mind" several times. I'm not sure I agree with your last. I once had a medication prescribed that caused hallucinations. Doc did not tell me that could happen, but I was well aware they were not real. So one could say my mind was being controlled against my will, and I was aware of it. On the other hand, I still had control of my actions, i.e., I could choose to not swat away the screaming, kamikaze butterflies. I could also choose to not take any more of that medication! $\endgroup$
    – WGroleau
    Feb 27, 2016 at 6:10

When I read this question, it immediately brought to mind recent brain-computer interface (wikipedia) work. News stories such as this one about using BCI to bypass a spinal cord in order to help overcome paralysis show that this is not entirely a flight of fancy.

If you can have thoughts control muscles - by converting them into electrical signals - then it's easy to "hijack" a person's body. That much is possible - given the right surgery - with today's technology. (This is awesome: both in the sense of an awe-inspiring medical cure for nerve injuries, and in the sense of a terrifying concept.)

It's not a huge leap of faith to postulate the ability to transmit signals the other direction, stimulating parts of the brain (such as pleasure or pain receptors) or potentially even altering perceptions. Even something as "simple" as causing the body to produce adrenaline would have an effect on the victim's state of mind.

I don't think it would be a large step from there to assume stimulating other parts of the brain, given some advances in psychology, couldn't allow at least some control.

All you have to do is convince people to get this chip implanted in their skull - probably to "protect them" from some threat.


Take a quick peek at the Ghost In The Shell universe.

In short: within the GITS universe, a "cyberized" brain is essentially a brain where the neurons have a jacket / wrapping of artificial computerized material. So a brain is not just your regular old fleshy heap of gray matter, but in effect also a computer.

In GITS, a person sufficiently skilled in hacking can not just control another person's actions, or mess with their senses (like erasing themselves from a person's field of vision) but re-write their memories completely, a so-called "ghost hack"; ghost in this setting meaning "soul", the essence of what makes you the person you are.

EDIT: Watch to the end... https://youtu.be/z2mXrndt1ZI

In the following scene it is shown that this person is not anything of what he thought he was during the chase.


Check out The Quantum Thief.
It's set several centuries post singularity.
Crypto ensures privacy. It validates the integrity of your exo-memory. It's how you know your thoughts and memories are really yours.

Update: I was trying not to spoil things for people who have not read the book. I guess I was trying too hard.

WARNING: If you haven't read the book, this contains spoilers.

In The Quantum Thief, the society of the Oubliette makes extensive use of exomemory; non-biological, external, protected storage. It's preferential to biological memory, because it extends beyond biological death, is digitally signed ensuring its authenticity, and is not subject to the smudging or fading of biological memory. Every interaction is subject to gevulot, a cryptographically secure, contractual agreement defining what information is exchanged / retained, and for how long. This all works as long as the crypto is secure.


However, Jean le Flambeur, the villain, possesses a key which allows the surreptitious editing of the exomemory. So, the populace remember the glorious revolution, not that the Oubliette was a penal colony and they were its prisoners.


If you control the memories, you control the behavior that arises from the memories.


There was some point where your rational mind made the realization that your childhood hero did not the measure up to the mythos. If someone had the ability to erase every memory that contradicts the mythos, what evidence would you have to question the Supreme Leader's right to eternal rule?

Conceptually, I find it much scarier than the premise of controlling an individual mind. It's about controlling an entire society.

  • $\begingroup$ Good job improving your answer $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Feb 27, 2016 at 20:42

This is one place that tends to force Sifi to become si-fantasy. But I'm not against that. Star Trek and Star Wars did that abundantly.

I know you are trying to get the magic out of the story, but you could instead put the science back into magic. Look not everything is knowable. We don't even have a full explanation of why positive and negative charges attract. They just do. But we use that in science.

So I'll give you a lifeline, if even a scary one on this. Suppose that, part of our minds exists in a different dimension, where it is accessible to the shared mind. We get shared ideas visions and communications that way. The input of the 'muse', our intuition comes that way. Maybe that is where the soul resides?

So if you are in the right state (or wrong state) is it possible you could become vulnerable, even to mind control?

Do we not have to reject crazy and upsetting ideas from time-to-time? But if you reside in a state of 'information disease' (google it) what then?

  • $\begingroup$ Pseudo-science but it's a possible angle that could work. Welcome to the site. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ I am sorry but this answer pretty much translates to "Ok, I know you do not want to use magic... but how about if you use magic?". @TrEs-2b was pretty clear about using tangible, hard science concepts. Your suggestion needs to be un-fuzzied and made less soft around the edges. :) $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Feb 26, 2016 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKarnerfors Hard Sci-Fi doesn't have to start with known things. It can start with something a lot of people think might be true, like this suggestion, and then science from there. $\endgroup$
    – DCShannon
    Feb 27, 2016 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ Beyond the realms of hard science, but probably the best answer when writing a story. $\endgroup$
    – user8887
    Mar 2, 2016 at 20:29

With mindcontrol you have a more problems to solve:

  1. the way, to connect sender and receiver
  2. the level of details of manipulation (from fear to exactly contracting selected muscles)
  3. the lasting of it (from just live stream to life long modifications)
  4. how many sender exists and how are commonly treated (from occasional hunted witch to nearly everyone normal)
  5. maybe also the receivers can be only spare or nearly everyone is at the risk

Let just use picture of internet - nearly any computer is connected, be it PC, laptop or smartphone - nearly none of it is supposed to be "fully commanded by unauthorized person", but hacking happens (and usually via programs not supposed to give control to anybody else - browsers, email clients, clocks, ...). User of hacked device may be aware about it and fighting it, but may be able to overcome it. Or may be full unaware. You can use this model for mind control too.

1.1. the simplest is "shared part of mind" somewhere outside our reach, where common ideas came from, but over eons every species developed "firewalls", that protects them from nearly anything, leaving just a small and "semicontrolled" ways to interact - dreams, sense of something bad happened, and so. But some individuals somehow found way around and are (willingly or not) to use some "hole" in the firewall and access victims inner mind. But it is nearly as bad as magic. Possible full range of actions and results.

1.2. brains use electricity, the waves can be detected, attacker is able to send its own waves and modify victims waves to affect her mind. it can be natural, the range would be really limited and it is hard to explain, how it developed it can artificial, the range can be much longer, if enough energy is available attacker can have powerful transmitter victim can have sensitive receiver both

1.3. the brain use some sensors, (eyes, ears ...) which are used to transfer the signal - problem is with distance, on which such sensors can be affected

1.3.1 Natural ways - infrasound makes fear, big sharp tooth makes fear too, big round eyes make cute, innocent and attractive look, regularities are nice, irregularities are repulsive ... Attacker may be able to alter his face/voice/scent/... in subtle ways to affect victim by this to push her to wanted state of mind - limited reach and hard to get precise control Attacker can develop ways to overcome recognition and send messages directly in by some hole (equivalents of crafted packages, like Ping Of Death, or Buffer Overflow) - it is complicated as the signal is interpreted many times, before it reach the central mind, so it should have hack each and every level on the way in Sumbliminar affecting - whispering to sleeping person "must kill Bill" and such

1.3.2. Artificial ways - mass - use of TV propaganda or "every 30 frame is message" or similar ways - direct - crafted phone calls, body enhancements (like modified voice, facial moving mask and so) indirect - let suppose, that (nearly everyone/supposed victim/...) have implanted any artificial device, which can be hacked and used to send some signals to neural system. In near future at least mobile phones can be so popular and constantly used, that at least BT speakers would be implanted. Or even better also some visual stream like google glasses. This way victim can be directed precisely by phone number/IP/... and using bugs/zero day holes/viruses/infected SW/any other popular method attacker get direct access to its victim neural system. As it bypasses usual interface, it can do anything. Over any distance. Like a classical computer virus.

  1. level:

2.1. subtle - just make adrenaline raise, shock victim if misbehaves, make it spasm or anything other unwanted if it does not do, what you was, make victim happy, relaxed, or otherwise feeling good if she obeys and over some time you can train she anything you want - slow, not precise, but relatively simple method

2.2. alter her senses, that she see someone as monter and attack just from being scared of him

2.3. alter her memory/mind - make her "remember" that someone is her cruel enemy, which must be destroyed at any cost

Those way make victim behave "on her own will" but maybe "again her better judgement" - like it happens even now many times with abused, drug users, mentally ill, or just any other way manipulated people "I know, he is cheater, but I have to return to him and try to make him better", "I know I should not drink and my head will hurt at morning, but one more whiskey anyway", "I can't help myself, but I must eat this chocolate, even if I know I will cry over it in ten minutes"

2.4. if you can get deeper, you can trigger learned reactions - like send "attack", "run away", "sleep", "freeze", "lay down" and make the body react before mind came realize, what happens - and eventually override the victims commands totally

2.5. the hardest is manipulating the muscles directly - as you need issue really specific and complex commands and probably have also good feedback, otherwise the victim would just fall after two steps.

  1. lasting:

3.1. direct commands - victim "works" only under direct control, attacker have to make her every one move specifically - (point 2.5. leads here for example)

3.2. immediate action only - attacker issue simple command ("run away", "come here") and victim fulfills it, but then is free to do anything, until next command. Also she can call for help while doing the command ("Somebody please stop me now"), until commanded to be silent - this is typical where direct visibility is also request.

Attacker can issue such commands in voice (and fully detailed) "Came here and give me the key you got from John" (like a total authority figure), or by other means (maybe gesture, grimace, but then it is not so specific)

3.3. long lasting (altering mind/memory mainly) - victim then would attack anybody in blue shirt any time she see somebody like that. Maybe it would fade away in days/moths, maybe it would be permanent

  1. and 5. affects the world balance:

4.1. one of few attackers exists - they got their power from somebody (mad scientist, old chinese monk, developed spontaneously or such) and probably will end else hunted (Frankenstein), town/state/world leader/ruler (dark wizard king) or willingly hiding from public

4.2. large group exists - world must react somehow on it. Such group may be genetically modified, or some blood heritage, small nation, or something like albinos, or red-heads.

4.3. nearly everyone is able to mind control - like nearly anyone can physically attack in current world (maybe except small child or some minorities)

5.1. Only 3rd son of 3rd son can be mind attacked

5.2. Only 15-18 years virgins

5.3. Anybody ill, tired or with predisposition

5.4. Just anybody (maybe except few) can get computer virus

I would probably prefer model with (mad scientist, or some group like Illuminati) have a device (or altered brain, that they can do it) and the mind control is only on near range/direct vision with 3.2. immediate action only, where victim can be anybody (but few naturally resistant or shielded), so the world would be like ours, maybe with super villains and superheroes.

The other good combination is, that nearly everyone have implanted telephone, so is hackable, nearly everyone possibly can hack, but it is not easy, as good firewalls and regular updates makes defense really strong and attacker need a lot of knowledge and skills to be able hack on high level. (But spammers and script kidies are relatively common, as not updated firewalls are). Control is usually immediate action, as it is the most simple, but all range of attack are possible, but much more difficult (only few can construct false memories, that lasts normal checks, or puppet somebody around with direct control, as it is extremely difficult to do, not to deliver)

This is world of Ghost In The Shell for example, or more powerful Shadowrun, reflecting the current world of PCs connected to internet. Many get a little hacked, but usually without much loss (except for some money, privacy and similar non fatal problems), but on higher levels (business, government, celebrity) the war is much stronger, as there are much less targets, much more to obtain and much higher skills required to have a chance try to attack.



The noosphere is the sphere of human thought.The word derives from the Greek νοῦς (nous "mind") and σφαῖρα (sphaira "sphere"), in lexical analogy to "atmosphere" and "biosphere." In the original theory of Vernadsky, a Russian, Ukrainian, soviet scientist, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere.

For Teilhard, the noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere has grown in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. As mankind organizes itself in more complex social networks, the higher the noosphere will grow in awareness.

But, for making noosphere a tool of mind control, you should use the noosphere features present in STALKER game series.

In the game, the theory of noosphere is altered slightly. Rather than a (more or less) abstract social/environmental concept, the noosphere is very much real, a tangible if invisible field surrounding the Earth linked by, affected by and affecting human minds and thoughts.

Something like this

So, imagine that every human being is linked to this network. If a person is able to enter consciously into the noosphere, he can gain access to any other person mind, given that every mind is linked each other in the noosphere.


Hormones and Pheromones

Hormones regulate and influence many physiological processes. Pheromones influence social processes. Both can trigger a response from a person, even when the victim knows they are exposed to hormones or pheromones.

Even if a victim knows what is happening, being injected with epinephrine (adrenalin) will trigger a fight-or-flight response; increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, rapid breathing.

Pheromones act in the same way but are even easier to administer since they just need to be smelled. According to Wikipedia,

In a 1978 study by Kirk-Smith, people wearing surgical masks treated with androstenol or untreated were shown pictures of people, animals and buildings and asked to rate the pictures on attractiveness. Individuals with their masks treated with androstenol rated their photographs as being "warmer" and "more friendly".

Hormones could be delivered by injection, or perhaps using dimethyl sulfoxide, having it absorbed directly through the skin.

I remember a Dutch Hulk comic in which a carny tries to make the Hulk a circus freak by locking Bruce Banner in an electrified cage and dousing him with a mixture of DMSO and adrenaline. It works, turning Bruce Banner into the Hulk instantly, but of course the Hulk escapes.

D... M... S... O...
Crypto wonder drug in vogue
Some people say
It cures arthritis
Maybe that's why
It keeps getting banned
It's absorbed
Directly through the skin
Mix it with lemon juice
Touch your fingertips
You'll taste the lemon

The police
Started a riot
Down at the courthouse
Running amok
Spilling blood
Bashing heads

I do my part
Behind the lines
Swabbing door handles of cop cars
With D.M.S.O.
Mixed with L.S.D.
"DMSO" by Dead Kennedys


It's already a thing, at least with animals. Scientists have implanted electrodes in the brains of creatures as diverse as insects and mice to pretty much remote-control them.

It should be noted, though, that the more complex a brain is, the harder it is to work with. Flies can basically be maneuvered directly (on the ground at least), but for mice they've only managed to 'encourage' them to move left, right, forward or back by triggering their pleasure centers (and it still can't override basic instincts like forcing them to jump off a high ledge).

In higher mammals like apes and humans, even the most basic physical movements are not hardwired from birth, but learned over the course of childhood, so the pattern in which they are encoded in the brain will differ from one individual to the next. We can analyze someone's personal brain-to-body interface by scanning their brain over time, examining which neurons fire when they perform certain actions. We've been using this for robotic prosthetics, but by reversing the process it could presumably be used for controlling the body.

However, it does mean that you (or an AI) would need some time to study the subject before you could control them; you couldn't just stick a mind control implant into someone and expect it to work immediately. This can be used for dramatic tension; a person knows they have an implant and they only have a limited time to get it out before it learns their brain's structure and takes over.


First we must have a theory of how mind do what it perform, it's not clear with actual science. there is a promising but not evidence about it's validity that open a perspective of what you ask for it's Quantum theory of mind. if it is valid we can think that if mind work at quantum level, the energy to change a state level of quanta is very low and is amplified at physique level, if we understand how quantum work what every state perform we can induce a very small change in quanta and get a very big change in macro world its butterfly effect, if someones talk that we can change the climate by very small but accurate action a mind will be a piece of cake. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind

  • $\begingroup$ That's rather hard to read, and it took some puzzling to realize that it is in fact an answer to the question. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Feb 27, 2016 at 1:09

One method I used in a short story that I wrote involved quantum entanglement, a person meshing enough with another person's brain such that they thought alike and, by changing their thoughts, they changed the other person's. Because the entanglement, by nature, had to be imprecise (otherwise, they would literally be of one mind), it was closer to inserting stray thoughts than actual control. It's the difference from constantly nudging in a "What would happen if I gave John a good shove while he was bent over the stove?" than a "ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL... PUSH JOHN INTO STOVE".


Two ideas for using chemicals as agents for m/c come to mind:

  1. Chemicals which are ingested. E.g. In the real world, certain acacia trees deliberately provide food and housing for ants. The food contains some substance which causes the ants to defend the trees. More HERE

  2. The use of pheremone-like scents. See Wikipedia.


Easy as pie! One tells/shows something that our brain detects as fearful. It automatically turns on the reaction known as Fight-or-flight response. During this state the body emits a set of substances into blood stream. Adrenaline, endorphines etc. All this substances have narcotic nature and bring high state. People are addicted to their internal drugs. So they seek to get more. One can give any suggestion to an addicted person during such "trips". That's it. No any magic. Just pure science. LOL

  • $\begingroup$ Why all the extra mucking about with fear? 1) Kidnap person, 2) get them hooked on any drug of your choice, the more addictive the better, 3) tell them "Do what I say and I give you drugs". Also... "LOL"? On Stack Exchange?! $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Feb 26, 2016 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ Mind control applies same, but without kidnapping and druging. There are internal narcotics in everyones body. One just needs to acivate it and give suggestions. $\endgroup$
    – Fishbone
    Feb 29, 2016 at 8:38

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