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

Hunting Bwana the Dentist

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
What would motivate a dentist to spend $55,000 to kill an elderly tourist lion? The answer takes us on a psychological safari looking at recent themes in American life that incite and reward fantasies of the mighty hunter.

Otome: What We Can Learn About Love from J-Romance Games

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on July 25, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
Otome are romance simulation games, primarily for girls and women, initially made in Japan but now spreading worldwide. I was interviewed for the Bullet Train podcast as a psychiatrist to comment on what we can learn about love from otome. A lot, it turns out!

Fraudulent Draft Day Fantasies

The lights of the NHL shine bright on draft night and they can easily blind optimal motivation. Sometimes dreams can be so vivid and so emotionally sustaining they leave an individual neglecting to attend to important initiatives and hurdles during the journey.

Should Couples Share Their Sexual Fantasies?

By Michael Castleman M.A. on July 02, 2015 in All About Sex
Sexual fantasies excite the imagination—and sometimes are better left there.

"Bullying Fiction" Top Picks

Adolescence. At times synonymous with daily dramas…. until she takes her own life or he brings a gun to school—and uses it. This blog contains a list of books, fictional and/or autobiographical, that speak to these tragic scenarios, as well as to dysfunctional behaviors (including cutting and eating disorders) that are often linked to bullying.

Is Everyone on Match.com Looking for a Match?

By Marty Klein PhD on June 29, 2015 in Sexual Intelligence
Many people use dating sites to window shop. Their mates, however, may not be amused.

Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Teaching Psychology

By Dana S Dunn Ph.D. on June 22, 2015 in Head of the Class
Fewer students enjoy reading for reading's sake—we need to integrate literary fiction and good non-fiction into the classroom. Doing so can bring psychological ideas alive but also help students appreciate reading for pleasure and insight into behavior.

Play-Acting for Real

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on June 21, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
In photos, Dylann Roof, who murdered 9 black churchgoers, reveals a child captured by heroic fantasies, and unexpectedly illuminates the fantasies in the air around him. We need to learn to recognize the cues.

Dressed to Thrill

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on June 17, 2015 in In Excess
Clothing fetishes are sexual fetishes where individuals derive sexual arousal and pleasure from either (i) viewing or imagining very specific items of clothing, (ii) viewing or imagining a set of clothes (e.g., a particular uniform or fashion look), and/or (iii) individuals (themselves or others) wearing the clothing item or uniform. But what is known about such behavior?

Fantasize about Commercializing Precision Medicine

Some rough criteria for success in developing Precision Medicine products, as applied to mental health and substance abuse treatment, that can improve treatment outcome and be commercially viable.

Form a Line in the Barbie Queue

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on June 02, 2015 in In Excess
Doll fetishism is a type of sexual fetishism where individuals are sexually aroused and attracted to dolls and/or doll-like objects (e.g., figurines). There is also a virtual form of doll fetishism where such fantasies can be acted out online and in virtual worlds via self-created doll avatars. But what else do we know psychologically about the behaviour?

Are Umpires Racist?

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on May 21, 2015 in Social Instincts
Umpires call more strikes for pitchers of their own race. Fact or fiction?

A Select Assortment of Books and More

Not every worthy book or DVD gets the attention it deserves. Here are a few you might otherwise miss.

Tattoos and Identity

A website urges you to tattoo a song lyric on "your skin and soul." What's going on?

The Psychology of Conspiracy and Cover-Ups

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 in A Sideways View
Who is being most naïve, those who tend to believe in conspiracy theories or those who don't? What are the characteristics of those who tend to have a conspiracist view of the world?

Sex Drive? There's No Such Thing

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 in Living Single
The notion of a sex drive is probably one of the most widely accepted ideas in popular culture and beyond. But there are scientific standards for what counts as a drive, and in her new book, "Come as You Are," Emily Nagoski argues that sex doesn't meet them.

The Misery Checklist

The Misery Checklist: A made-up story about a real problem

One More Reason to Unplug Before Bedtime

How does being "plugged in" to an electronic device impact a young child's developing brain?

Fifty Shades of Tattooing: Body Art, Risk and Personality

Women readers of the Fifty Shades trilogy have higher rates of risky behavior So do women who get tattoos. Both of these may be outward signs of a predisposition to take risk rather than a cause of such behavior.

Get Out Of Your Toxic Relationship By Taking These 3 Steps!

Toxic relationships are not good for you. They can break down your emotional health. Here are three steps to get yourself out of your toxic relationship!

Lovely Me

Amy loses weight by squarely facing her emotional eating patterns and envisions living the life in the body of her choice.

Body Smart

Your diaphragm plays a huge role in your tension and relaxation.

Her Marriage, and His

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on April 11, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Why it is so hard to make a marriage last.

10 Great Ways to Get to Know New People Without Awkwardness

Icebreakers are a traditional way to overcome the original awkwardness that many people feel when they first form a group. Whether it’s with a class, a set of co-workers, or a volunteer committee, a little psychology will go a long way toward building group cohesion and identity.

Would you want your brain transplanted into another body?

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on April 05, 2015 in Trouble in Mind
The announcement that a human head transplant may be as close as 2017 raises many fascinating issues, quite apart from the technical feasibility of the surgical and medical problems inherent in such a procedure. Who are you—your body or your head (with face attached)? Would a brain transplant be less traumatic for families than a head (with brain inside) transplant?

The Surprising Psychology of BDSM Players

By Michael Castleman M.A. on April 01, 2015 in All About Sex
Contrary to the portrayal of Christian Grey in "Fifty Shades of Grey," BDSM aficionados are psychologically normal and healthy.

Cinderella: Trash or Treasure?

Is Disney’s new Cinderella just more grist for the princess mill? Is it drivel, schmaltz, fantasy? Or does it go way deeper? Intelligently written, directed, designed, and acted, the filmmakers have created a profound exploration of life, love, spirituality, international politics, and valuable lessons to embrace. Look through a new lens and see what resonates with you.

Another Guy Who Isn't a Sex Addict

By Marty Klein PhD on March 31, 2015 in Sexual Intelligence
"Sex addiction" is a very poor way to understand people.

Language

Language represents a huge developmental leap. Think of all the things we can accomplish with our words and language. We can enhance relationships with our children. We can share feelings and ideas.