Theory:Abilities in general

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Theories about abilities in general

The following fan theories are about abilities in general.

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Theories

Theory Citations Notes
All evolved human abilities are manifestations or variations on the classic psychic abilities of telepathy, telekinesis, and extra-sensory perception (ESP). According to Chandra Suresh, all abilities appear to originate from a particular mutation in the brain. (Six Months Ago) If true, enhanced strength and regeneration are manifestations of telekinesis; mental manipulation is a variant of telepathy; precognition and electronic communication are types of ESP, etc.

+ Sylar, using his ability to discern how things work, identifies the brain as the source of abilities, and takes abilities after opening up the brain (Six Months Ago), including enhanced hearing, which would normally be associated with the ears (Unexpected). When Claire's brain is damaged, she is unable to regenerate until the stick is removed (One Giant Leap).
- This does not account for abilities such as induced radioactivity, pyrokinesis, freezing, or other forms of energy manipulation.

+ Pyrokinesis and freezing both basically just involve changes in temperature, which is essentially a function of the speed at which molecules vibrate, which could conceivably be controlled by telekinesis. Similarly, Ted Sprague's induced radioactivity could come about by telekinetically inducing photons to vibrate at different frequencies, and thus producing gamma radiation (as he has also shown the ability to produce a non-damaging EMP blast).
+ Pyrokinesis is a classic psychic ability, as illustrated by the Stephen King novel, Carrie. Freezing is also often described as a psychic phenomenon.

- Time travel is not a classic psychic power.

+ Some recent views of psychic powers treat it as a variation of teleportation.

The Wildcards novels illustrate exactly how far the concept of "superpowers as variations of psychic powers" can be taken.
- These powers do not all seem to be variations of ESP as in The Butterfly Effect. Mohinder was able to replicate abilities through extracting adrenaline from Maya this proves that some powers are not psychic but merely a natural reaction i.e. physical abilities like super speed, super strength or poison emission are only activated when the adrenaline is being pumped through the blood stream.

If Telekinesis is a mental ability originating in the brain, and if instinctual, reflexive reactions coincide with increases in adrenaline, then mental abilities, too, are tapped with increased adrenaline. Peter exhibited this during his training with Claude, where he instinctively used TK to block a blow from Claude (Unexpected).
- Chandra did not say that abilities are linked to a mutation in the brain; he said that all actions and thoughts involve the brain.

+ Matt Parkman's original ability is telepathy, but after sharing Usutu's ability of precognition, Matt is now able to manifest precognition independently, indicating that they are closely related (Villains).
+ Daphne's ability is to move at super speed, but when boosted by Ando, she can actually travel through time, indicating that her ability is closely related to space-time manipulation.

- The inclusion of time travel through speed was based off of Einstein's theory of relativity. It does not mean that the two powers are connected.

Chandra Suresh has stated that the brain is source of control for everything the body does. That does not mean that the powers are manifestations of mental powers, but that powers are merely controlled by the brain like everything else.

Abilities are a result of evolution and adaptation being influenced by the subconscious whims of the subject; a person gets an ability that helps them in their day-to-day life, based on what they (either consciously or subconsciously) think they need. In Dual, talking about wanting the ability you receive, Daphne stated to Matt "...you wanted to know what people thought about you, and now you can read minds. I wanted to run and now I can." + Peter's empathy would be useful in an occupation that depends on feeling and healing the suffering of others, such as a nurse.

+ Claire's ability is useful for cheerleaders, they break bones all the time.

- Claire had her ability long before she was a cheerleader (Claire & the Cat)
+ Claire & the Cat was never released, therefore it is not considered canon in the Heroes universe.

+ Claire developed the ability (or at least kick-started it working) in order to survive the fire - this would be a necessary adaptation for her to live (The Fix).

- The fire never got to her, Noah rescued her before it happened, she only started exhibiting abilities six months prior to the Odessa, TX train wreck.
Claire's parents were very protective of her. With their influence over her as a young child, she could have mentally adapted a subconscious want to be invulnerable.

+ Claire clearly sends the message through the series that she doesn't need/want to be overprotected by Noah, which relates to her ability to avoid any form of injury.
+ Nathan first manifested his flight ability when he needed a fast escape (Six Months Ago).
+ Matt's telepathy could be useful for a cop and a man who struggles in knowing what he should say to people.

+ Matt's telepathy could also be related to his dyslexia.

- Matt and Maury Parkman share the same powers, possibly because of inheritance.
+ Niki vocally expressed her desire to be two people and her worries about being strong enough for her son several times.

- Her power was only super strength, not to have a split personality; this was apparently caused by a mental illness, although this illness and its connection to her ability is unknown. According to the logic of this theory, if she wanted to be two people at once she would have manifested an ability more like cloning or perhaps to a lesser degree teleportation.

+ D.L.'s ability to phase through matter would certainly be useful for a man in prison seeking escape.
+ Sylar's ability to understand how complex systems work would be a boon to any watchmaker.
+ Eden McCain just wanted to be heard and, when she spoke, everybody did what she said.
+ Tim Kring has stated in interviews that the character's abilities are reflections of their personalities.

- This goes both ways; meaning that a person's personality is a reflection of their ability.

+ Charlie was a waitress and her ability of memorization would greatly assist her in taking and delivering orders.
+ Hiro's ability first manifested when he was trying to 'will' the train into not arriving, and he did succeed in making it late.

- A person's life may be influenced by their ability; meaning that a person would subconsciously take the path in life that would be greatly assisted by their ability not that there ability is chosen by there own subconscious to assist with the life they have.This would mean just by simply going back in time and say stopping someone from doing something you could change their ability.

- Elle manifested early. She would have no use for electric manipulation at six years old.

+ Elle did need a power that would make her father proud of her. It might not be as poetic as others, but the need is there.

- Echo DeMille, the Sound absorption agent, or Nathan do not benefit from their abilities in their daily lives.

+ Their powers may have manifested in a time of need, as Nathan's power first manifested while escaping Linderman's thugs in Six Months Ago, but the background lives or time or manifestation is unknown for Echo Demille or the Sound absorption agent.
+ Echo's not just a mailman, he's also a DJ, sound manipulation would be a great asset for him.

+ Ando felt he needed to help his friend, in a sense, his ability helps others with their abilities.

Ando wanted to time travel to save Hiro. When he injected himself with the formula, Daphne was present. This could suggest that a higher power (perhaps the writers) knew that supercharging would accelerate Daphne past the speed of light, allowing time travel. This would also suggest that the same higher power controls time travel, preventing the time travelers from going to certain points or forcing them to go to others.

+ Mohinder wanted to be a super as those around him, his ability came in the form of super strength, senses, and stamina.
Perhaps abilities are far more basic than they appear at first, but subconsciously a person chooses to utilize their basic ability in a way useful for them at that moment. Matt first developed the part of his ability that allowed him to read minds because he was dyslexic and needed a way to save his failing marriage, so his mind power kicks in and he can read minds. The Haitian, on the other hand, might have the exact same ability, but he first developed the part of the mind ability which would allow him to suppress powers and have a shot at taking down his brother who had impenetrable skin.

- The Haitian only learned about Samedi later in life, a long time after learning and developing his ability.

- Matt Parkman, Jr. can certainly have no conscious or unconscious whims.

Parental attachment can cross their mind even if it's not a conscious thought.
Baby's are very curious, sensitive to sounds and movements, and they also tend to want to play. Matt's ability can easily aid with all of those.

- Evolution happens to populations, not individuals. Evolution requires a mutation as well as an event or change in conditions that gives individuals with that mutation an enhanced ability to pass it along (procreate). If there is some kind of "gateway" gene that allows people to manifest powers according to some kind of desire, it doesn't explain why families end up with similar abilities passed on to their offspring (generally acquired characteristics aren't inherited, and if somehow manifesting powers alters the DNA of every cell in your body, it doesn't explain why some offspring have vastly different powers than their parents).

The abilities are designed by a higher ability. None + There are many references to religion in Heroes. For example, many of the characters are named after biblical figures. Also, Chandra Suresh's door is number 613, a holy number in the old testament.

+ The creators of the show have also hinted that there's a supernatural element to the character's abilities. Tim Kring studied divinity in school, and Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite have commented on the preponderance of Biblical names.
- However, religious symbolism doesn't necessarily imply a religious cause.

Siblings have the same or similar abilities. None + Twins (in popular culture) are closely connected both genetically and emotionally and generally share similar traits, even when separated.

+ Maya and Alejandro are confirmed as twins in Lizards and their abilities are somehow related.
- Niki and Tracy have wildly different powers.

+ Niki and Tracy were also given their powers by doctor Zimmerman, so their powers would almost for sure be completely different.

+ Meredith and Flint.
- Angela and Alice have different powers.

Abilities are the result of a virus. None + Viruses alter DNA, and transposons literally can cut and paste genetic material and have had a large impact on evolution. 40% of human evolution is the result of transposons. The long incubation time in some viruses could mean mutation caused in such a way wouldn't manifest until late in life in the first generation, and late childhood/early teens in the second generation.

+ Many virus have a single strand DNA/RNA code. And had been stated that the "Symbol" represent a single RNA helix.
+ A virus could preferably infect brain cells, and that is why Sylar needs to "eat" them.

- There has so far been no suggestion that abilities can be transferred to another through infection.
The presence of a virus does not necessitate the carrier to be contagious. Many viruses are not contagious (and many more are contagious only through limited means). Just as not everyone is affected by a particular mutation (strain) of influenza, so too could this hypothetical virus only affect a particular group (for instance, those with a particular genetic marker or makeup--this would set the evolved humans apart, if not effectually until the virus becomes active in them). It might also explain why people of varying ages manifest their powers, rather than it coming at, say, puberty, or some other predetermined time.
Animals may develop abilities as well. None + In this show, all around the world, humans are evolving and developing extraordinary abilities. It wouldn't seem much of stretch to say that other species are not part of this evolutionary process.

- According to evolutionary theory, a new feature originates in a particular branch of the evolutionary "tree" and spreads only in descendants of its originators; it does not jump from one branch of the tree to another. Since superhuman abilities originated in the human branch of the tree, it should not appear in others.
+ Evolutionarily speaking, animals should have developed similar abilities. Convergent evolution is the reason why the eye has evolved over seven times independently. If these abilities are possible, they're also possible for animals.

- However, some of these abilities would probably cause the animals that possesses them to die before they reached sexual maturity, such as those of Sprague or Claire's mother. Other abilities, like technopathy and Hana Gitelman's ability, would have been completely useless, and therefore there would have experienced no selective pressure in the gene pool.
+ There is such a thing as parallel evolution.

- It would be really stupid if that happened.

That is a matter of opinion.

+ Some of these abilities have already appeared in animals, such as rapid cell regeneration in newts and lizards. Also, many of these abilities, such as flight are inherent characteristics of other animals, like birds, or underwater breathing in fish.

- In newts and lizards, however, the regeneration takes a long period of time to complete, unlike the few minutes in Claire, Peter and Adam.
Perhaps the abilities manifested are developing in a part of the human brain not found in other organisms.
Interaction with and proximity to an "active" evolved human can help a "dormant" evolved human to manifest their ability. None + Matt first manifests his telepathy directly after Eden used her ability on him, when he listens to Janice's thoughts after Eden tells him to eat donuts.

+ Monica first manifests her ability soon after Micah starts living with her.

Monica's cousin and aunt both had powers, the latter having developed hers at an undetermined time. It's possible Monica had been exposed to special abilities prior to Micah's staying with her, and yet still didn't evolve until later.

- Evolved humans manifest their abilities for the first time after it occurs an eclipse.

Not all evolved humans manifest after or during an eclipse, there are known evolved humans who didn't.

+ Adam first regenerates soon after meeting Hiro, and while Hiro is nearby.

It is unclear whether Adam had a life threatening injury prior to meeting Hiro.
Hiro met Adam after an eclipse, which has been confirmed to be part of the ability manifestation.

- Peter and Nathan grew up with their parents who have abilities - they did not start finding these abilities until 6 months before Season 1 when Nathan flew out of the car during his accident.
- It wouldn't explain how Sylar manifested, since he didn't interact with any other evolved human until Brian Davis. (Six Months Ago)

The term being used here is "helped". No one is saying that manifestation is impossible without an active EH nearby.
It should also be noted that the hunger did not appear until Brian Davis, although Gabriel had presumably been using his powers to repair timepieces for quite a while.

- It also wouldn't explain how Eden manifested, since she didn't interact with any other evolved human for a long time. (Life Before Eden)

The term being used here is "helped". No one is saying that manifestation is impossible without an active evolved human nearby.

+ Chandra documented that specials radiate an odd force, and that that force increases exponentially when multiple evolved humans are close together. This could theoretically jump-start the manifestation of dormant abilities.
- Bad and/or exciting things tend to happen around evolved humans. It's possible that the emotional charge of these events simply make it more likely for any dormant abilities to manifest.

The gene that gives humans abilities is passed down from parents, grandparents etc, but the ability the offspring receives is random. None This would require that the relevant gene (or allele?) somehow modified the rest of the genome, since Sylar is cited as having the "DNA for telekinesis".
Sylar isn't the best example since he is said to alter his DNA when he takes another ability.

+ Claire is has a completely different ability than her biological parents, as does Micah, while Matt has the same ability as his father.
+ Claire has a completely different ability than any of her shown grandparents.

- Claire's father has a synthetic ability, which could interfere with the natural inheritance of abilities.

+ It is possible that the abilities are different if both parents have abilities, if only one parent has abilities then that ability is passed along to their children. Impossible to prove one way or another though until we know all the parent's abilities or lack-thereof. The only people that we know 100% had 2 heroes as parents have different abilities than the parents. Parkman's mom likely did not have abilities, but this has not been proven either way.
Mohinder says that the ability a person gets depends on their individual blood chemistry, so the ability is not so much random as it is individual.

Which would not only mean that the Parkmans have similar blood chemistry, but also that Nathan and West do as well.
Abilities come with the side effect of a mental defect. Bob stated to Niki, "The body may develop somewhat of a fracture to cope with the use of these abilities." (Four Months Ago...) + Angela Petrelli claimed that Arthur Petrelli suffered from mental depressive disorder, which caused him to have delusions of grandeur. (Genesis)
- Angela also claimed that Peter had it though Genesis.
- Angela claimed the same thing about Nathan to Heidi but was clearly lying to cover up his secret.
+ Nathan is also an alcoholic. Addiction is a mental disorder.
- Nathan's alcoholism developed during the period in which he believed his own arrogance had led to Peter's death. Developing an addiction in response to horrible trauma is rather common.

+ Matt Parkman suffers from dyslexia. (Don't Look Back)
+ Hana's Mossad psychological profile states that Hana has a "difficulty in understanding the subtext of social interactions".

- Hana's family was murdered when she was a child. It's tough to escape from a situation like that without some kind of damage.

+ Niki Sanders suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder. (i.e. Jessica and Gina)

- Niki's Multiple Personality Disorder was probably caused by the death of her sister, Jessica, when she was young, which would explain why one of the personalities manifested as Jessica. Jessica is known as saying "I took every blow, so she wouldn't have to" which would suggest that Jessica has been around for a long time and explains Niki's lack of memory of what happened.

+ Elle stated the shrinks diagnosed her as a sociopath with paranoid delusions. (Four Months Ago...)

- She was tortured by her father to test her powers. HRG implies that this was the cause of Elle's problems.
- Elle also demonstrated distinctly non-sociopathic outbursts: grief over her father's death, self-loathing after driving Gabriel to become Sylar.

- The disorders are hardly proof of anything. With the possible exception of Niki/Jessica/Gina, all of the disorders are relatively normal. Hana had been through a bit of hardship, with the suicide attack on the bus and the deaths of her mother and grandmother; Elle has been exposed to a fair amount of hardship herself, including the testing (mentioned by HRG), the destruction of her mother's house, etc. For the most part, the mental disorders of the evolved seem to be related to something other than the fact that they're evolved. "Power corrupts" would explain the behavior of most of previous generation (and Adam, and Sylar, and Eden...). A lot of the other characters are (currently) well adjusted (Claire, West, Hiro, D.L., the Haitian) (at least, as much as can be expected). Anyone remaining has probably been through something (e.g.: Nathan was severely burnt, and is mourning the (perceived) loss of his brother).

West appears to have a superiority complex over humans.

+ Maybe it is the other way around. The power of an individual is based on the disorder/side effect/defect/life a person has (or seeing as they get their power with their birth, the kind of person he/she will be). Matt suffered a disease because of which he can't read properly, and his ability grants him the power to read minds of other people. Claire, without her power, is just a fragile girl, that could get hurt easily, but her ability grants her the power to never get hurt.

- Claire did not manifest any irrational fears of being injured.
- Dyslexia is not a disease; it is a learning disorder. Also it's possible that his dyslexia may have developed due to instinctive uses of his power in infancy or some such.

+ In the case file for Claude it says "chronic avoidant personality disorder, exhibited by a pervasive distaste for human contact and antisocial behaviors when contact is initiated without his consent", which would explain why his ability is invisibility.

- Claude worked for the Company, "hunting his own kind" in his words. If you can literally turn invisible, CAPD becomes much easier to develop.

+ Daphne, whose power is super speed, has cerebral palsy, and cannot run or even walk without her power.

- Cerebral palsy is not a mental disorder; it's a physical (albeit neurological) defect.
Each individual's abilities are manifestations of a small set of root abilities, or even a single omnipotence, and will grow and develop into these larger abilities. Maury and Bob each clearly state that Matt's abilities are developing into something more. + Matt's abilities, initially thought to be simply reading minds, have been established to be an early stage of a larger, all-encompassing "mind ability". If Matt's ability is evolving and growing, it stands to reason that others are, too.

+ Many abilities seem to be similar or related, such as Claire and Adam's ability to heal themselves and Linderman's ability to heal others, or Micah's ability to interface with machines and Hana's ability to send digital signals. Some even seem like the same ability with only minor differences in execution, such as Eden's verbal mind control and Matt's telepathic mind control, or Candice's illusions and Maury's nightmares, or the electrical absorption, electric manipulation abilities.
+ Abilities are well-known to increase in potency over time, as Noah notes when he abducts Matt, which would mean that increasing in function would not be unreasonable.
+ Claude comments to Peter while they are training that he believes there to be an ultimate version of their abilities, which he believes Peter is approaching.
+ Peter and Sylar's absorption of many abilities show that it is possible to contain many abilities within a single individual, implying that maybe they are simply speeding up the gradual process of ability development.
- Adam has been alive far longer than a normal person would, and has shown no abilities other than regeneration.

+ It is clearly established that the species is in the process of evolving, so Adam, as a very early example of the process, could easily not have the same potential as later generations.
The Eclipse triggers a dormant gene that allows the holder of the gene to adopt the ability they desire. None + All the heroes saw an eclipse and then were granted abilities.

+ All their abilities are tied to their emotions and personalities and were given to them in times of distress after or shortly before seeing the eclipse.
- Claire, Nathan, Niki, Peter and many other's abilities manifested before the eclipse in Six Months Ago.

Nathan and Niki are synthetic evolved humans.

- Eclipses are really nothing special from a scientific point of view, just a cosmic coincidence. Also, eclipses as portrayed in the series couldn't happen. The first was viewable from New York City, Texas, and Japan, which doesn't happen (the sun isn't even visible overhead in those locations at the same time).

Natural evolved humans that are related to each other have similar powers while synthetic evolved humans that are related to natural evolved humans have random powers. None + If Matt Parkman's power is naturally his, then this makes sense seeing as how he and his father have the same power.
- Matt Parkman's son has a different ability.

+ If Peter's power is natural, then this theory would make sense seeing as how his father and him have powers that allow them to duplicate/take the abilities of others.
+ Nathan has a synthetic ability, which seems random compared to his father's and brothers' powers.
+ Flint and Meredith are siblings, and they both have pyrokinesis.
+ Niki's and Tracy's powers don't seem compatible, but random and unrelated.
+ If Maya and Alejandro are natural evolved humans, then this theory would make sense since their abilities complement each other.
+ It is possible that Micah would have had an ability similar to his father's, but since his mother is Niki, who is synthetic, he has a seemingly random ability.
+ Assuming that Meredith and Claire are natural evolved humans, than this theory would make sense considering that their powers are completely different. However, since Nathan, who is synthetic, is Claire's birth father, then his artificial ability genes could have interfered with the ability that Claire was supposed to have.
+ It is reasonably safe to assume that Khufu was a natural evolved human. Thus, this theory would make sense, considering that members of Khufu's kin and his descendant Abu Aswan all had the ability of levitation.
+ The Haitian and his father both had abilities that altered the mind, while one made people jovial or fearful, the other made people within proximity forget everything.
- Angela's ability to dream the future is unrelated to both her sister's ability to control the weather, and her father's ability to emit bursts of energy, and it is unlikely that her mother had an ability that related to both Angela's and Alice's abilities.
+ Ted's ability to emit radiation and his mother's ability to redirect energy seem related.

Many abilities are meant to be used selfishly. A lot of abilities cannot be used to do good. + Doyle's ability to control people cannot be used to help people, in most circumstances.
- Doyle can stop people from doing bad things, like robbing a bank or raping somebody. He just needs the inner heroism in order to use it strictly in this manner.

+ Maya's ability cannot help people.

- According to the original ending of season two, her power would have saved Odessa from the Shanti virus.

+ Evolution is meant to help a species to survive, not help others.
This theory assumes (correctly or incorrectly) that evolution has a meaning as opposed to no meaning, and by extension perhaps intelligent design.

Evolution is an effect, the result of billions of organisms' struggles to survive and grow. In a way, evolution has its own intelligence, albeit as a function of its living exemplars.
Powers start off as basic versions, but then extend to much more. None + Adam Monroe started off with regeneration, and then stopped aging, the same may happen to Claire.
- Aging is caused by the degradation of DNA as cells split. Parts of the DNA are lost or mutated, and mistakes are made in the person's genetic make up. Regeneration would only ensure that the DNA didn't degrade, therefore meaning that they wouldn't be able to age, not having to develop the ability to not age. This would also explain why Sylar's father seemed to lose his abilities as he grew old; because the DNA of the abilities he took may have been lost as he aged.

+ Telepathy has been shown to grow into a much more powerful ability.
The growth of abilities may be something passive, something that happens with experience, or something that has to be specifically honed in on.

Certain abilities that overlap, such as mental manipulation, telepathy and others like them are actually the same ability. None + The Haitian seems to be able to control all brain functions, and Matt is in the process of also doing this.

Some evolved humans may be limited in their abilities because they are unaware of their potential.

+ Matt only started his manipulation abilities after he discovered that he could, from his father who was already experienced in this area.

+ There may be ability homology.

Powers can be learned. Sylar's intuitive aptitude; Flint's learning of his powers in Graphic Novel:Playing with Fire. + Sylar takes other abilities by 'learning' them. In the graphic novel, Flint also 'learns' his powers, "mak[ing] it extra hot". Matt also learns thought suggestion after realizing his father could do that. While it might not be possible for everyone to learn powers, maybe certain individuals could. Also, while it might not work for all powers, maybe certain powers could be learned.
- This could just be because all of them were born with their abilities and discovered them by trying to do so.
- If it were possible to alter your own genetic code by thinking about it, then everyone would be thin, disease-free, and have the powers of a minor deity.

- If this were true, then the Company could have vastly increased its numbers by finding people who could do this and teaching them. They'd have their own army of fanatic specials.

Abilities such as rapid cell regeneration and impenetrable skin are abilities that can rival each other but have basically the same effect. None + Ability homology exists in Heroes.

- These two abilities have very little to do with each other, one prevents one from physical harm while the other allows one to recover from physical harm.
+ Both allow its users to be protected from physical harm.

- Rapid cell regeneration reverts the effects of physical harm, impenetrable skin doesn't allow physical harm to be dealt.

+ Parallel evolution happens. With a phenomenon as wide-ranging as abilities, parallel evolution becomes more likely.

People can take two natural abilities; generally their normal ability and immunity to it. None + Rule of Ted or other immunity could be a separate ability to induced radioactivity or pyrokinesis etc.

+ Peter is immune to abilities he has absorbed e.g. telepathy.

- Telepaths are not immune to this ability, but one can be more adept than another.

- Ability immunity could be an aspect of the own ability, which makes it usable.
+ "Pyrokinesis is the ability to create and manipulate fire using the power of the mind". No reference to being immune to fire.

- Manipulate can account for various effects, one of which could me the immunity.
+ Pyrokinetics are indeed immune to fire.
- Only to the fire they create.
There has yet to be an example of a pyrokinetic being attacked with fire.

- Rollo Fusor's accomplice wasn't immune to her ability.
- Elle wasn't immune to her ability either.

Abilities sap intelligence. In Dying of the Light Usutu puts Hiro Nakamura through a series of tests meant to foster forethought and prudence rather than an overdependence on abilities; it is inferred that the possession of abilities often leads their users to behave less intelligently. Chandra Suresh states that "the brain controls every action". Conventional thought processes such as memory, comprehension, etc. may suffer due to mental processes being devoted to an ability. + Evolved humans with simple abilities often seem more intelligent and tend to use those abilities in imaginative ways. Nathan Petrelli's only ability is flight, and he maintains his political resources through numerous scandals. Evolved humans with "Swiss Army" abilities tend to be gullible, short-sighted and downright reckless. Peter Petrelli seems to act less and less intelligently as he accumulates abilities.

+ The Company motto "one of us, one of them" may be an attempt to enhance performance by pairing reckless evolved humans with clear-headed normals. Noah Bennet is shown to be able to match the abilities of most evolved humans through determination and planning.

- "One of us, one of them" was instituted to reduce the possibility of a 'special' agent starting some sort of underground railroad movement to protect evolved humans who the Company wanted locked up/experimented on.

- This is perhaps just conjecture and justification for plot-driven mistakes. If characters with potent and/or numerous abilities consistently used them intelligently, multiple seasons of plotlines would be resolved per episode.
- Peter's attitude in Dying of the Light was the result of mimicking Sylar's ability.
- It is more likely that having a potent ability makes it seem (to the user) like being smart or inventive isn't as important as honing the ability. "I can throw fire from my hands! Why do I need to learn how to compute square roots?" "If I can just keep rewinding time every time I screw up, then I don't need to learn anything!". Usutu was keeping Hiro from developing such stupid beliefs, helping him to use his ability to its fullest effect.

Abilities have both spiritual and physical connections to the person. None + Sylar's ability couldn't be detected through tests, he could only have a spiritual connection to his ability.
An individual can have an ability that is strong enough not to be replicated, much like having an ability strong enough not to be blocked. The Haitian had trouble containing Arthur because he was so powerful. + If there is a character powerful enough to resist power blocking, there may be someone powerful enough that their powers cannot be copied.
Exposed future Sylar was able to block Peter from obtaining his power of intuitive aptitude.
No, due to the complex nature of the ability, Peter needed instructions on how to access the ability, he had already absorbed it since their first encounter when Peter saved Claire.
Sound effects and camera movements implied Sylar was using telepathy (although it is unknown if he had it) to stop Peter from accessing his power.
The ability someone gets is dependent on that persons needs at the time of activation. In Dual, talking about wanting the ability you receive, Daphne stated to Matt "...you wanted to know what people thought about you, and now you can read minds. I wanted to run and now I can." + When Nathan's powers activated, he flew out of a car that was about to crash.

+ When Matt's powers activated, he was struggling with exams, he then found he could read other peoples minds.
+ When Hiro's powers activated, he was frustrated by the monotony of work and wanted to stop time.
+ When Daphne's powers activated, she wanted to be able to walk again.
+ When Alejandro's powers activated, he wanted nothing more than to counteract Maya's ability.
+ This could explain why some gifts run in the family and some don't seem to have any connection at all: Claire has an ability completely unrelated to her parents' abilities, Matt has the same ability as his father.

Nathan's ability is synthetic, it's possible that this may interfere with the natural inheritance of abilities.

This may not be true in all cases. Did Peter need empathic mimicry at the time he manifested? With some, like Peter, it may be a more general need than an immediate one.

As a nurse he needed to empathize with his patients, as we don't know when his powers activated it is hard to tell.

+ This would explain why Peter's abilities changed as when they were reactivated, he actually wanted to be able to take another persons abilities.

- Peter doesn't take abilities, he still just copies them.

Some abilities just don't seem to flow with this theory (pyrokinesis, water mimicry, etc).
- Desires don't change DNA. Even if you really, really want to just disappear, if your genes say you have pyrokinesis, then that's that. No invisibility.

+ Interesting that you would bring that up, as Becky Taylor in Shadowboxing tells the story of her wanting to become invisible to save herself, and then becoming invisible.
- She obviously had that power to begin with, she just didn't have access to it before.
+ While in "conventional" understandings of DNA/RNA will does not change DNA, Heroes does not follow a "conventional" form of science.
For every evolved human on earth, there is or will be an evolved human with the same ability, or an antithetic ability. The law of physics that states that for every action, there is an equal or opposite reaction. + There are many instances of similar or opposite abilities. (e.g. Peter and Sylar or Meredith and Tracy)
- And plenty of other abilities don't have antitheses (as far as we know).

- Physics has little to nothing to do with genetics.
- The theory is that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore, one might be able to argue that there would be an antithetic ability for all abilities.

Abilities manifest during states of extreme emotion. The emotion can be fear (Tracy), entrapment (D.L.), anger (Maya), or even a sense of awe (as in, when an evolved human witnesses an eclipse). None + Adam manifested when he was about to die, as did Claire and Nathan.

- Alex Woolsly stated that he gradually manifested the ability to breathe underwater while swimming on a swim team. There wasn't any specifically emotional event. Charlie Andrews and Micah Sanders also have no specific emotional trigger. Onset seems to be fairly random as there had been traumatic events in posthuman's lives before they manifested powers.
+ This would make sense. In ancient times (before humans evolved), life-or-death situations were the primary sources of extreme emotion. When accompanied by rushes of adrenaline, strong emotions could trigger a dormant ability. Cases where positive emotions trigger abilities could simply be the result of the person's limbic system (the fight/flight instinct) misinterpreting the situation.

Abilities can mutate during intense, life or death-like situations. None + Claire couldn't feel pain after she got her head cut open, Elle started generating more electricity after her run in with Sylar, Adam resurrected himself from a skeleton after his final fight with Hiro, Peter was finally able to recall powers as he was plummeting to his death, and Tracy turned into a water mimic when she froze herself solid.

+ It has been shown that powers are linked to adrenal glands, which would be incredibly active during such situations.
+ Sparrow Redhouse said she only used to be able to manipulate earth when she touched it, but after the rush of adrenaline and blood pumping she was able to do it without touching it.

One or more extraterrestrials are responsible for messing with evolved human abilities. None + In Heroes, the eclipse was seen by and affect many heroes around the world, but the moon by itself should not make an eclipse that is seen by that many people in such a timespan.
- Today, it is very easy to predict the duration of eclipses and the places where eclipses can be observed (and up to what stage). If there had been an inconsistency, it would have been suspicious for the scientists.
- Since this is a show, some suspension of disbelief is required.

+ Mohinder said that the sun and moon by themselves should not have caused the effects he witnessed. E.T. could be the element he was missing.

- The effects could also have been caused by some other unknown phenomena besides E.T.

- Why in the universe would aliens decide to get happy with a gene splicer on a species which might, conceivably, become potent enough to challenge them (or at least skew whatever data they collected)?

When evolved humans experience a great dose of adrenaline, their abilities evolve. When Meredith was given a dose of adrenaline she was able to create fire from all over her body, which we haven't seen her do before. - Ted needed to relax and concentrate to emit an EMP. Whenever his 'fight or flight' reflex acivated, he lost control over his ability.
Ted wasn't developing his ability; he was simply using a part of it which he hadn't used before.
Thus developing it.

- Matt seemed to be annoyed by Usutu's presence when he manifested precognitive abilities. That doesn't seem to involve a great adrenaline dose.

Abilities influence their owners' personalities and aptitudes, not vice versa. None + Evolution is a lengthy process. People with specific abilities could naturally tend towards personality types which best suit their powers due to natural selection. For example, a hot-headed, impulsive person with an ability like intuitive aptitude couldn't make full use of it.
Daphne's cerebral palsy could have been the result of her body putting the cart before the horse: the areas of her brain which were 'damaged' may have actually been atrophied, because they weren't really needed once her ability manifested.
Matt Parkman's desire to understand others may have been because of his ability. His DNA was fully formed at birth: his body and mind instinctively 'knew' the potential to read minds (and cause illusions, and change memories...) was there, and was subconsciously expressing it as his urge to understand others.
Peter Petrelli may have had a naturally empathetic personality because that personality is best suited to making maximum use of empathic mimicry.
Synthetic abilities are more likely to have diverse uses than natural ones. None + Tracy can freeze things and become water, her ability is synthetic.

- Matt can read minds and paint the future, his ability is natural.
- Edward can see possibilities, move at superhuman speeds and generate electricity, his ability is natural.

+ Adam Armus and Kay Foster suggested that Edward was somehow manipulated by the organization he worked for.
- Matt was "manipulated" by Usutu, too.

- Nathan could only fly, his ability is synthetic.
- Niki's enhanced strength was synthetic, and Knox's more complicated ability was natural.

+ Mohinder is "faster, stronger, more agile".

The theory is intended as more of a rule of thumb then an ironclad dictate. It's quite possible for exceptions to exist.

Evolved humans' abilities may be affected by their treatment as infants. None + In a recent scientific study, genetically identical rats were separated and placed with different parents. One was placed with caring, attentive parents; the other was placed with neglectful parents. After several months, the two rats were different; the first was trusting and pleasant, while the second was nervous and aggressive. When their DNA was analyzed, it was found that both of their genetic codes were different, not only from each other, but also from their original DNA. It is possible that such changes could affect a latent ability.

For example: the Russian and Leona Mills had similar abilities. However, the Russian could only change his own age: Leona Mills ages at an incredible pace and must drain the youth out of objects and people to stay alive. The first ability is 'compassionate' (having no negative effect on others); the second is 'aggressive' (to survive, Leona must make other things suffer).

All abilities come from a single extradimensional source, akin to the Speed Force in DC Comics. All evolved humans are tapping into this single source to use their powers. None + Chandra claimed to have detected a force emanating from evolved humans. (Brother's Keeper)

+ This may be what allows all the power transferring, mimicking, and manipulating abilities to work.
+ The eclipse may have somehow blocked out or interfered with the connection to this source.
+ Many abilities violate the laws of physics. Originating from a higher plane of existence where the rules are different may be what makes this possible; evolved humans are playing by different rules than the rest of the normal universe.
While possible that it affects all abilities, it was said only to magnify Samuel's ability, it wasn't mentioned to do anything at all with other abilities.
+ Meredith and Flint sharing the same ability makes little sense if only genetics is involved. Given that their parents did not have abilities, this would mean that they both had the same exact random mutation, which is next to impossible.
+ Samuel refers to the first time using an ability as having the whole universe flow through you. This implies some sort of higher force.
+ It's possible that the reason the formula doesn't work right without the Catalyst is because it doesn't grant a proper connection to this source, which the Catalyst may provide.

There is a universal "plane of consciousness" where every being's thoughts reside and form a map of reality. Abilities like precognition, clairsentience, clairvoyance, dream manipulation, etc. access this plane in order to retrieve information. In a BTE interview, it was stated that Matt could "access that same plane of consciousness that Isaac and Usutu drew from to paint (and arguably the same one Angela accesses from another door)." + The quote clearly says that precogs access a plane of consciousness with their abilities, and it is implied that it can be accessed in other ways.

+ There are few other explanations that would explain clairsentience.

Certain types of abilities have only recently developed. None + Technopathy and electronic communication would be pointless to have in the times of Takezo Kensei.
In-universe, Richard Drucker helped create the Internet so people could access the world he could see with his ability. Radio communication already existed.
- Perhaps their abilities are not simply "technopathy" and "electronic communication", but rather something more fundamental. An ability to communicate with computers is simply sending small, controlled electrical impulses. These very same impulses could probably be used on a computer, if it assumed that powers do indeed undergo mutations.

+ Mutations are extremely common. Therefore, at almost any given point in history, there would be at least one ability which had never been seen before.

- There is no proof that any "abilities" existed before Kensei, and as evolution is a generalized as a process, there is no proof that there were any mutations at "any given point in history".
Abu's ancestors, Khufu and his kin were from ancient Egypt, long before Kensei.
All abilities are different, even when named as the same. None + Several abilities which are named as the same, show different aspects which other users do not have.

+ This explains why Samuel has a different version of terrakinesis than Sparrow.
+ This explains how Matt could predict the future and Maury could not.

- Maury isn't known to have gone through the same experiences which allowed Matt to use his ability to see the future.

+ No two abilities seem to have the exact same aspects. Most users of an ability usually show an aspect not seen used by another user.

Abilities (or at least active abilities) can atrophy if not used on a regular basis. None + Samson Gray appeared to possess limited control over the abilities at his disposal, even though he had intuitive aptitude. This lack of familiarity with his powers could be due to a long period of time since their last serious usage.

+ All active abilities would theoretically use specialized muscle groupings and/or portions of the brain to function. If neglected, most muscles will begin to atrophy. An atrophied "ability muscle" could result in a weaker power, or perhaps a less controllable one.
+ Many powerful evolved humans "practice" constantly (Elle's habit of shocking people, Bo LoFontaine's spoon-twisting, etc.). A causal link could exist between regularly practicing an ability and having a fine degree of control over it.

Abilities are intimately linked to an energy field surrounding an evolved human that has similarities to gravity and electromagnetism. Chandra Suresh's description in the Coyote Sands films and the functioning of the compass. Many abilities could theoretically make use of this field in the functions of their abilities, e.g. telekinesis could be extending this field and focusing it into a dense point of gravity and telepathy could be using this field to enhance and manipulate brainwaves.
+ A wide variety of abilities like shapeshifting, empathic mimicry, intuitive aptitude, ability absorption and ability replication could theoretically be utilizing this field as a medium much like an MRI device.

Theoretically this field could play a part in or be a side effect of an evolved human drawing on energy to power their ability. This may simply mean ambient energy from their environment, like a sort of vacuum or gravity well, which can be detected as Chandra Suresh discovered.

The effect of an eclipse on Earth could have a (variating) disruptive effect on this gathering of energy and evolved humans who have not manifested an ability by themselves may respond instinctively by manifesting in order to create a stronger vacuum, much like a person yawning due to a decreasing oxygen level.
Also evolved humans gathering together could cause an exponentially stronger vacuum, gathering more energy than most abilities (with certain exceptions) can make use of. This could be due to some form of polarity flux.
Also Samuel's ability could be a sort of manipulation of this field (or the energy it gathered) which he could draw into himself for later use and (with effort) focus into terrakinesis.

+ This may explain how Peter (with empathic mimicry) and Sylar can absorb abilities without physically contacting their benefactors' DNA.

Sylar has never conclusively been shown to obtain an ability without touch.
He was shown to have absorbed Elle's ability without physical contact.
- Sylar did touch Elle to take her ability.

+ Linda Tavara was able to perceive and absorb auras of people along with their abilities.

People without abilities could get abilities by having a brain transplant from an evolved human. None + Evolved human abilities come from the brain. Theoretically, if you get an evolved human's brain, you could get their powers.

- Abilities are also genetic. Just because you have an evolved human's brain doesn't mean you get their genes with it.


  Theories edit
See Also: 9RedTime travel