It's shown in "The Maquis," that Vulcans cannot do a mind meld with Cardassians due to the latter's mental discipline. Would a Betazoid like Lwaxana Troi have similar difficulties?

(Perhaps not, since the Betazoid method isn't obvious like the Vulcan method and the Cardassian in question may not even be aware to block such an attempt.)

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    It's very hard to keep up with the Cardassians. Dec 30, 2016 at 0:59

2 Answers 2


There is no reason why they shouldn't be able to, even though we haven't seen it on screen. The reason is that Betazoid telepathy is mind reading, while Mind Melding is more of a "merging" sort of telepathy.

The Doctor, in the VOY episode "Meld" says: "Vulcan mind melds: utter foolishness. Anybody with an ounce of sense wouldn't share his brain with someone else; would you? I certainly wouldn't." Mind melding is a two way street: both sides gain access to the other side's mind, as the two minds are actually intermixed.

Mind Melding can lead to loss of identity, especially if the target's mind is especially strong.

In unaired dialog from ENT, Archer describes the symbiotic lifeform in "Vox Sola" as a mind meld, as it interconnected the victim's minds. T'Pol specifically states in "Rajiin" that mind melding is dissimilar to "mind reading.

Finally, in The Undiscovered Country, we see Spock breaking into the mind of Valeris in order to retrieve data they need to save the day. In the novelization, Spock uses the mind meld to dig deeply into her mind, but stops short of actually breaking her will, asking instead for her assistance. The idea being he COULD have broken her there with the power of his identity, but allowed her identity to answer instead.

Note that in that scene, Spock and Valeris answer in unison.

So, in short, Vulcan mind melds involve a mixing of two or more minds into one gestalt, which has features of each participants mind combined. A Cardassian, therefore, can be trained in such a way that their force of will, when combined with anything short of the most adept and powerful Vulcan, is unable to be broken (the reverse of the novelization Valeris situation).

Betazoid telepathy, however, is much more like mind reading. They are able to actually read and interpret the minds of those around them who's brain structures are similar; unlike Vulcan mind melding, the Betazoid always has control over their own mind; there's no opposing will locking them out.

A further question, though, is this: would there be any point in mind reading a Cardassian? A more paranoid race hasn't been seen in Star Trek, at least at the "Galactic Power" level. Cardassian society seems like the type of place where one keeps one's personal thoughts to themselves, plays everything close to the chest, and (in 1984 the Novel style) learns to keep mutually exclusive facts in their heads. Guls are seen crowing propaganda and the like, and the loyalties of the Cardassian elite seem rather mercurial. So it's possible that a Betazoid, confronted by a Cardassian, may walk away with incorrect impressions or incorrect data, either through active effort on the Cardassian's part, or through simple ignorance of the layered thoughts of a Cardassian. I admit this last part is more speculation than the rest, but it makes sense to me.


There's no indication in "The Maquis" that Dukat's ability to resist the mind meld had anything to do with his species:

SAKONNA: This is quite puzzling. I am unable to establish a mind meld. It would appear he has the ability to shield his thoughts.

DUKAT: It's simply a matter of discipline.

As a high-ranking Cardassian, it's possible he just taught himself how to resist a key interrogation method employed by the Federation. There's no telling what his species' natural ability to resist telepathy might be, or whether or not other species could teach themselves the same.

Allow me to speculate though that if Cardassians did have a natural resistance to telepathy, it would have certainly been discovered during the war. I'm particularly inclined to believe that since Betazoid empathy and telepathy is more or less automatic, it likely would've come out during normal diplomatic relations. It at least should have gotten a passing mention from Counselor Troi.

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