In at the Sharp End

Belonophilia refers to the deriving of sexual pleasure and arousal from pins or needles. Although media stories relating to ‘needle fetishes’ appear to be relatively rare, clinical and medical case studies in the academic literature are almost non-existent. So, what do we know psychologically about this apparently rare sexual fetish?

Making Saves

Extreme couponing is an activity that combines shopping skills with couponing in an attempt to save as much money as possible while accumulating the most groceries. Extreme couponers spend hours and hours on the internet or scouring scouring rubbish tips or supermarket car parks looking for coupons. But can it be addictive?

Sexed Text and Writing Wrongs

Erotographomania means different things to different people. For some it is when individuals derive sexual pleasure and arousal from writing love poems or letters. For others it's the drawing obscene pictures and diagrams in lavatories, public urinals or writing obscene anonymous letters to young girls. But what do we really know about it?

Card Drives

A number of years ago, I helped a leading Internet poker company do some research on different types of poker player and developed a typology. The typology was based on a survey of 2000 poker players and produced seven different types of player. But what were they? Find out more by reading this article.

Stars In Their Eyes

Celebriphilia has been defined as “an intense desire to have a romantic relationship with a celebrity” and shares many similarities with celebrity stalking. It is also a completely modern, man-made phenomenon. But what do we know about celebriphilia?

Body Language

Muscle Dysmorphia describes a condition characterised by a misconstrued body image in individuals interpret their body size as both small and weak even though they may look normal or even be highly muscular. But could it be classed as an addiction to body image?

Thirst Responders

Most people have probably heard of ‘binge drinking’ and ‘binge eating’. But what about binge gambling? Binge gambling shares many similarities with other binge behaviours including loss of control, salience, mood modification, conflict, withdrawal symptoms, denial, etc. This blog looks at an interesting case study of binge gambling

Within Reason

There is a belief that some people are destined to become addicted. Typically this is explained in one (or both) of two ways. That some people (i.e., "addicts") have an addictive personality, and that there is a genetic basis for addiction. But where does addiction reside?

Occupational Hazard

To date, few measures of workaholism have been developed. A couple of years ago, I and some of my colleagues developed a new work addiction scale that was actually based on addiction components (called the 'Bergen Work Addiction Scale'). Find out if you are a workaholic using our psychometrically valid scale in this blog.

Men Of Steal

In previous articles I have examined activities like shopping as an addiction. One similar such behavior is shoplifting. This article briefly looks at a new typology of shoplifting and argues that in some cases, shoplifting may even be an addiction.

Sporting Chances

Games of chance (like lotteries) offer no significant edge to serious gamblers and are unlikely to be gambled upon. Serious gamblers gravitate towards types of gambling that provide an appropriate mix of chance and skill. This is one of the reasons why horse-race betting is so popular for gamblers. But what else do we know about the psychology of horse-race betting?

Fertile Imagination

Professor Sammy Lee (one of the UK’s pioneers in IVF egg donation) believes that the urge for childless couples to have children is stronger than the urges addicts feel for their drugs or behaviours of choice and that their pursuit is obsessive. but what evidence is there that 'IVF addiction' exists?

Bump Start

One of the more interesting and somewhat controversial male psychological conditions that have been reported relatively frequently in psychological research literature is Couvade syndrome (sometimes called sympathetic pregnancy) but is not generally recognized as a bona fide medical condition. But what does the psychological literature tell us about this disorder?

Active Rewards

Research appears to indicate that at times of psychological and/or emotional hardship, some habitual exercisers engage in such activity as a form of escape. The reliance on exercise as a means of coping with adversity has the potential become to become addictive. I and some colleagues carried out the first ever national study on exercise addiction - but what did we find?

Life On A Knife Edge

Piquerism is defined as sexual arousal from penetrating another person’s body with sharp objects (such as pins, razors, knives, etc.). Despite high profile cases of piquerism, there has been relatively little published about the behavior. But what do we know about it?

My "Addiction" To Fiction

Why am I – and millions of others worldwide – so fascinated, and – for want of a better word – ‘hooked’ on Hannibal' the Cannibal' Lecter’s fictional exploits? There are dozens of academic papers written from many perspectives including psychology, psychiatry, and criminology. One of the scariest things about Lecter is that he’s the composite of real serial killers.

Digital Detox

Technology is essential to most people’s working lives. However, the potential for technological overload has created a new type of anxiety that has been referred to as ‘techno-stress.’ Techno-stress can arise from many different routes. But what is it and how can we beat it?

Sacred Hearts

Sex and religion have always had a somewhat uneasy relationship. When the two intersect there is often controversy, heated debate, and/or scandal. However, there are small numbers of people who are allegedly sexually aroused by religious artefacts, rituals, and/or behaviour. One such behavior is hierophilia (sexual arousal from religious and sacred objects)

Everything Counts In Large Amounts

There are various ways to conceptualize gambling intensity. Such ways could include parameters involving the time spent gambling, the number of gambles made, and/or the amount of money won or lost while gambling. However, recent research suggests the most robust and stable measure for ‘gambling intensity’ is what is called ‘theoretical loss’. Find out more in this blog.

Hair Gripped

Trichophilia is a sexual paraphilia (sometimes called trichopathophilia, hirsutophilia, and/or hair fetishism) in which individuals derive sexual pleasure and arousal from human hair (most commonly head hair). But what do we know about it from a psychological perspective?

Are Our Screens Saving Us From Crime?

There is lots of evidence that when an activity is so engrossing it has the capacity to stop people engaging in other types of activity. However, could the recent crime drop in the UK be explained by adolescents spending too much time playing video games and social networking?

Contesting Times

One factor that is important in the rise of online gambling is the inter-gambler competition. Obviously there is an overlap between competitiveness and skill but they are certainly not the same. What what role does competitiveness play in gambling and problem gambling?

The Real Adrenaline Junkies

BASE jumping is an extreme sport that developed from skydiving (using specially adapted parachutes to jump from fixed objects). The acronym ‘B.A.S.E.’ was coined in the late 1970s (Building, Antenna, Span [arch, bridge, or dome], and Earth (a natural formation such as a cliff). This blog takes a brief look at the personality characteristics of BASE jumpers.

Eyes on the Prize

One of the most basic structural characteristics that may determine whether someone gambles on a particular type of game in the first place is the size of the jackpot that a game has to offer. But do big jackpots stimulate people to gamble? And if people win a huge jackpot, does it make them happy?

Dead Strange

One of the strangest and rarest mental disorders that has been studied academically is Cotard’s Syndrome. the syndrome is where individuals hold the delusional belief that they are dead (figuratively or literally) and do not exist. The characteristics of the include despair and self-loathing through to intense delusions and chronic depression. But what else do we know?

Contract Killing

‘Bug chasing’ and ‘pozzing’ are slang terms refer to the practice of people (usually gay or bisexual men) deliberately engaging in unprotected sex with men who are known to be HIV-positive in an attempt to contract the HIV virus (“bug”) themselves. Why do people engage in such behaviour and what does the psychological research tell us about it?

Sleeping Thrills

Sexsomnia is a condition that is highly prevalent among sleepwalkers and is where people engage in sexual acts while still asleep and can include masturbating and fondling of either themselves or others, or oral sex and sexual intercourse with another person. But what psychological research has been carried out on the topic?

Mile High Club Casino

Gambling has always been considered as a revenue generator for many different types of commercial enterprise. A number of airlines now have plans for in-flight casinos to be made available on long-haul flights for first and business class passengers. Is this something that we should be concerned about? Is it exploitative or just catering for what people want?

Look Who's Stalking

In clinical circles, erotomania is known as de Clérambault's syndrome (DCS). Those with DCS typically have a delusional belief that another person (typically someone famous, high status and/or a stranger) is in love with them. But what does the psychological literature have to say on the topic?

Tracks Of The Trade

It has been claimed that problem gambling can be identified online by examining the patterns and behaviors of online gamblers. If this is true, it has implications for current problem gambling screens (e.g., DSM-5). This is because most criteria found in these screens are associated with the consequences of problem gambling rather than than actual gambling behavior itself