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

Follow Your Dream?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 29, 2016 How To Do Life
Stories they don't tell you on Oprah

Emotional Illusion: "The Queen of the Human Heart"

We may be inclined to hold an illusion as truth, especially when seeking pleasure or in matters of the heart.

What Our Earliest Memories Say About Us

By Lee Eisenberg on April 23, 2016 The Point Is
Do we choose this or that memory so that our life story will have nowhere to go but up?

Doctor Who Therapy: Can TV's Time Lord Teach Compassion?

Superhero Therapy author describes an empirical study testing whether Doctor Who could teach children learn about compassion or help them with depression and socializing.

Vorarephilia and Being Eaten for Sexual Pleasure

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on April 07, 2016 In Excess
Vorarephilia is a sexual paraphilia in which people are sexually aroused by the idea of being eaten. But what do we know psychologically about this rare sexual behavior?

Love, Loss, and Heroic Rescue

Everyone wants to be rescued. For better or worse, rescue opens up romance. But it also reveals basic creaturely conflicts that define us.

The Problem With Contemporary Psychiatric Diagnosis

Patients today get stained by the specious medical diagnoses of biological psychiatry.

Five Questions to Ask Your Partner About Sex

Sexual questions to ask before marriage

Lying Vows

Romantic love dominates our lives. It occupies our thoughts, experiences, and desires. Yet when we attempt to honor the specialness of the bond, we often lie.

Falling Out of Love

Why, oh why, must we fall out of love?

Science Fiction Feminism

Some of the most critically and commercially successful sci-fi film franchises have featured badass female protagonists.

Who’s in the Mirror?

Doubles and mirror images fascinate. Why? Maybe they echo a threat to our sense of self - from illness, physical damage, others too like us, even sexual and gender misalignment.

Murder Kits

What killers pack in their murder bags reveals not just methods but also rituals and levels of ingenuity.

Deep Down, Are You a Murderer?

By Kurt Gray on March 15, 2016 Minding Morality
A man killed his in-laws while asleep. You could too.

How Do You Define What Is 'Sexually Normal'?

By Ryan Anderson on March 14, 2016 The Mating Game
Do you ever wonder if what you do or think about is 'normal'? New evidence suggests that some of what we once thought was 'sexually unusual' is actually reasonably common.

How Can We Understand Our Fear of the Other?

What can science fiction and fairy tales tell us about our emotional selves?

Trump Towers Vs. Downton Abbey

Enthusiasm for particular stories can reveal much about the political allegiances and values of the audience. Two popular yet very different stories prove the point.

How Fiction Could Save Us All

If exposing artificial intelligence to fiction can help them understand human values, could reading fiction similarly make us better people?

A License for Concealed Motives

A new Texas law dictates that students may bring guns to campus. The law contributes to hysteria based on conflicts too disturbing to acknowledge.

How to Manage Competition in a Chaotic World

What do resilient leaders and Olympic athletes have in common? They both leverage the same key strategy to manage competition in ambiguous times.

Are You In Need of Bibliotherapy?

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on February 27, 2016 Trouble in Mind
The allure of books has been recognized for centuries. But why is fiction so therapeutic? Can you take advantage of this and buy novels instead of therapy sessions?

The Only Socially Acceptable Psychosis

By Susan Rako M.D. on February 25, 2016 More Light
What can be called "the only socially acceptable psychosis"?

Why We're Afraid of Heights

Will our plane fall? Will I lose control? What about the urge to fly like Mary Poppins? What if the view is too much?

Exploring Our Endless Obsession With the End

By Guy P. Harrison on February 17, 2016 About Thinking
Explore the rational and irrational sides of doomsday.

What Secret Male Sexual Fantasy Is Surprisingly Common?

Traditionally, men whose wives have cheated on them have been scorned and stigmatized. So why have stories, images, and videos of so-called “cuckold sex” become so popular?

How to Fantasize: Sex, Religion, Politics

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 17, 2016 Ambigamy
Blaming politicians for lying is like watching a few hours of porn and, while cleaning up after yourself, cursing the porn stars for pretending they’re in love.

The 5 Most Dangerous Myths About Narcissism (Part 2)

By Craig Malkin Ph.D. on February 17, 2016 Romance Redux
Steer clear of any book, blog or video that tries to convince you of anything even approaching these ideas about narcissism.

A New Look at Visual Thinking

By Laura Otis Ph.D. on February 16, 2016 Rethinking Thought
It's time to move beyond general praise of visual thinking to consider all the different forms it can take.

Why I Fantasize about Divorcing my Amazing Husband

I have to admit to a very unusual fantasy. I fantasize about divorcing my amazing husband, but only so that I can spend more time with him.

The Care and Feeding of Myths: Breastfeeding and Weight

Despite attempts to “humanize” infant formula, breast milk is clearly superior, and breastfeeding is a natural process. But what is the connection between breastfeeding and weight?