Understanding Fantasies

Fantasies are not frivolous. They can be entertaining, distracting, frightening, even arousing, but they also allow for creativity and help us plan for the future. As long as we don't mistake fantasies for reality (as in delusional disorder and schizophrenia) or let them become too rigid (as in paraphilias), they provide a necessary escape from the here and now.

Recent posts on Fantasies

The Other Einstein—Was There One?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on September 13, 2016 in Singletons
At what point can a writer legitimately cross the line between fact and fiction?

The Macabre Appeal of Serial Killers

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on September 12, 2016 in Wicked Deeds
Serial killers are transformed into culture celebrities through the efforts of law enforcement authorities, the media and the public’s appetite for the macabre.
K.Ramsland

Serendipity and the Serial Killer

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on September 06, 2016 in Shadow Boxing
A series of coincidences made possible a unique approach to a serial killer's narrative.

Asexuality Is a Sexual Orientation, Not a Sexual Dysfunction

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on September 05, 2016 in Living Single
A growing body of research suggests that asexuality is a sexual orientation and not a psychiatric condition or a disorder of sexual desire.

Pamela Anderson & Shmuley Boteach: "Porn is for Losers"

By Marty Klein PhD on September 05, 2016 in Sexual Intelligence
An anti-masturbation clergyman and a Baywatch actress join forces to promote a moral panic.

The Thin Line Between Fiction and Fact

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on September 02, 2016 in Trouble in Mind
A new novel about the relationship of Einstein and his wife Mileva, told from her point of view, strays too far from the truth.

Fantasy Choices and the Real Self

Choices people make in fantasy contexts reflect rather than complement their personalities. People may be reluctant to create imaginary identities that mismatch their real selves.

How the End of Jobs Could Be a Good Thing

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 29, 2016 in How To Do Life
A scenario for how the likely serious jobs decline would create a kinder, gentler civilization.

When It Comes to Sex, What's Really 'Normal'?

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on August 26, 2016 in Standard Deviations
Recent research shows that, when it comes to sex, people are kinkier than we realize.

A Simple Exercise to Boost Optimism (And Improve Health)

This visualization exercise is easy (and fun) to do and research shows it can have big payoffs.
CCO Creative Commons

Watching Video Is Great Mental Training

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on August 10, 2016 in The Power of Prime
Watching videos of yourself and the best athletes in the world in your sport is a powerful tool for strengthening important mental muscles such as confidence, intensity, and focus.
D. P. Lyle

Walk in My Shoes, Said the Serial Killer

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on August 09, 2016 in Shadow Boxing
As I discuss "Confession of a Serial Killer" on "Crime and Science Radio" this week, I'm reminded of how complex this 5-year project from a killer's point of view was.

New Book: Why Knowing Fact From Fiction Really Does Matter

By Jennifer Haupt on August 08, 2016 in One True Thing
In confronting the difficult problems America faces, we all need to have a point of view... a sense of how the world works, and the ability to distinguish solutions from rhetoric.

Diagnosing Compulsive Sexual Behavior

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD on August 08, 2016 in Why Can't I Stop?
Is compulsive sexual behavior a new disorder?

Kinky Women: How Do They Play?

By Michael Castleman M.A. on August 01, 2016 in All About Sex
Women and Kinky Sex: Women into BDSM enjoy a broad range of both vanilla and fringe sexual activities

Jack the Ripper: History’s Greatest Murder Mystery

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on July 31, 2016 in Wicked Deeds
More than 125 years after his killing spree abruptly ended without his capture, the murders of Jack the Ripper continue to tantalize people around the world.
K. Ramsland

Packing Heat: Writing About Sex

Writing a sex scene is like playing jazz: you shut down lose self-censorship.

Forced Introspection: Appealing Fantasy or Horror Story?

By Laurie Helgoe Ph.D. on July 22, 2016 in Introvert Power
What if you were forced to spend two solid weeks alone, inside your own mind? How would you fare?
pixabay.org

Creating Fictional Worlds That Feel Real

By Laura Otis Ph.D. on July 13, 2016 in Rethinking Thought
When you read a novel, do you know what color hair each characters has?
<a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_guita22'>guita22 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Why Do We Hate Difference?

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on July 10, 2016 in Off the Couch
Why do leaders who nurture prejudice and fan the flames of hatred become so incredibly and disturbingly popular? And what can you do about it?

8 Common Myths (and 1 Truth) About Intimacy in Relationships

Without your realizing it, your beliefs about intimacy may be based more on myth than reality.

Nazi Fetishism

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on June 30, 2016 in In Excess
Examples of Nazi fetishism can be found in both musical content and films but what do we know about it from an academic and psychological perspective?

The Benefits of Creative Visualization

By Abigail Brenner M.D. on June 25, 2016 in In Flux
Creative visualization is a tested tool to help us achieve our goals and overcome limitations. By accessing the subconscious we can change our beliefs & ultimately,our reality.

The Power of Imagery

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on June 25, 2016 in Think Well
While the power of positive thinking is great, the power of positive imagery is often greater. Here are two of the most effective visualization techniques.

The Caregiver's Spouse

A fiction author gets the real-world details—fantasies, realities, and so much more—right.

The Motives Behind Murder of UK Member of Parliament Jo Cox

Clues as to the motives behind such a shocking and bizarre attack might be found in research conducted by a team of forensic psychiatrists and psychologists...

How Much of Porn Depicts Violence Against Women?

By Michael Castleman M.A. on June 15, 2016 in All About Sex
One study says 88% of porn videos show violence against women. Another says 2%. What explains this huge difference?
Wikimedia commons

Separating Fact From Fiction in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. Especially where autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is concerned.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Mothers

By Amy Tuteur M.D. on June 05, 2016 in Push Back
Why do we have more compassion for a gorilla than for a mother hoping to give her child the happiness of a day at the zoo?
used with permission from iclipart

Have You Ever Wished Someone Was Dead?

Many of us have wished someone would die or disappear when we're angry. But how common is it to actually fantasize about committing murder?