Mind reading can be viewed from two general perspectives or point of views, one is paranormal and the other is science. For a Psychic Reading Go here
From paranormal point of view there are telepathy and mentalism, while both are in the same point of view the two have different explanation regarding what and how of this two terms.
Telepathy is the term to describe information transfer between two entities/individuals using other means besides the five senses. The information transferred can be in the form of thoughts or feelings of one or both individuals. It is said that someone who could use telepathy is able to do a mind reading to another entity/individual. Telepathy was derived in 1882 from Greek terminologies of tele which means remote and patheia which means to be affected by by a scholar Fredric W. H. Myers. The scholar, one of the fore fathers of Society for Psychical Research, derived it to replace the expression of thought-transference. From many experiments used in telepathic testing, Zener cards and Ganzfeld experiment are the two methods of experiments which most well known and most used.
In the Zener cards experiment, there are five cards each with different symbols imprinted on and two individuals where one act as the sender and the other individual acts as the receiver. Selecting one of the card randomly the sender then should visualize the symbol imprinted in his/her mind while the receiver tries to guess the selected and visualized card using telepathy. There is a chance of 20% of correct guess for each attempt in this test, to have an affirmation in the telepathy capabilities of the receiver he/she should score more than 20% rate of chances.
Like in Zener cards experiment the Ganzfeld experiments need two individuals in conducting the method. One as the receiver the being tested individual- is placed in a sealed room or place where they are void of receiving any sensory input while the other as the sender placed in another room or place trying to send information to the receiver. The receiver should be able to receive the information the sender sent to achieve a successful test, the information sent might be vary from one experiment to another experiment.
Mentalism is considered as an ancient performing art, where the mentalist practitioner of mentalism- performs mind reading, psychokinetic, precognition and/or mind control. Using principles, sleights, tools and skills stage magician used, thus mentalism is being referred as one of stage magic branch.
For mentalist there are generally two tests still in use today, namely the book test and the living-and-dead-test. In the book test, the tested mentalist should guess a word, a sentence or a paragraph which picked by a tester or guest from a randomly chosen page in a randomly chosen book. The mentalists pass the test successfully if he/she could guess or discover the answer using his/her powers. As for in the living-and-dead test, written on identical pieces of paper are names of living people and dead person/s name all mixed up in one place. The being tested mentalist should pick and separate the names those are already dead from the one that are still living.
From science point of view mind reading falls under the category of neuroscience which category mentioned is devoted to the scientific study of the biological organism nervous system. Neuroscientist methods have improved a lot as now neuroscience is the gateway to study the mind and brain. This study becomes essential in understanding the way human interact and perceive the world. In 1996 neuroscientist found out about mirror neurons on a monkey brain where the neurons gives the same signal when the monkey is doing a certain activity and when the monkey watches a person do the some activity that the monkey did. Not long later the same mirror neurons are found in human brains, not only copying actions, the neurons reflected emotions and sensations.
One of the original discoverer of mirror neurons Vittorio Gallese explained that in interacting with other people, doing more than just observing the other person’s behavior, we create a mirror within ourselves mirroring their actions, sensations and emotions as if the one who are moving, sensing, and feeling is us. This what help people understand each other intentions and motives, thus for the more keen people it could result of some sort of mind reading like senses.