The term mentalist refers to entertainers whose performance appears to be based on "psychic" abilities, featuring the ability to read minds, project the mind to alter the state of matter, foretell the future, and see distant and hidden objects. This branch of magic is referred to as "mentalism."
There are analogues in the field of parapsychology, where a mentalist is defined as someone who is believed to read thoughts and place suggestions in people's minds. While a psychic may claim to observe a hidden spiritual reality and report on it, in a process known as "psychic reading" (see cold reading) a mentalist might claim the ability to manipulate and change that reality. The stage mentalist ostensibly mimics these supernatural behaviours by natural means.