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Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
Cerridwen
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Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
I heard something rather interesting the other day from watching a programme about hauntings. The sceptic on there was discussing about how some people have something called a 'fantasy prone personality'. Curious to what he meant by this I decided to do a little research.

Fantasy and Mental Illness
Submitted by Glamourous.

This blog entry is not news, but rather an idea I have been nursing. I am interested in exploring the connection between a “fantasy-prone personality” and mental illness. I believe that a major study on such connection will greatly benefit persons with mental illness and further enhance the treatments and knowledge of such disorders as autism, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder.

In the mid 1960s, Josephine Hilgard completed the first study of what would come to be called a fantasy-prone personality. That foundational experiment established the connection between hypnosis and rich fantasy. In 1985, Sheryl Wilson and Theodore Barber replicated Hilgard’s experiment and went on to discover that “fantasy prone” individuals have unusually distinctive personality traits, including vibrant daydreams, extreme receptiveness to hypnosis, a tendency toward psychic experiences, such as retaining internal and external imaginary friends, having out-of-body experiences, encountering ghosts and other spirits, hallucinations and reception of divine messages. Mistaken reports of paranormal or extra-terrestrial sightings, so often descry in supermarket tabloids, are sometimes thought to have come from fantasy-prone persons. In short, the research found that individuals with such tendencies had all the makings of what is known in lay terms as an “overactive” imagination.

Based on this research, I think we are poised to gain a greater understanding of the nature of fantasy, both neurologically and psychologically. I believe that daydreaming affects the neurotransmitter serotonin, which, kept at constant levels, maintains mood stability. In fluctuation, it causes mood disorders, triggering both euphoria (high) and dysphoria (low). I suspect that fantasy has an influence similar to that of the drug ecstasy; that is, it causes serotonin euphoria followed by an extreme decrease in serotonin, or, in other words, a bipolar effect. Ecstasy, and plausibly fantasy, trigger serotonin increases specifically in the pleasure center of the brain, located at the inner root of the left sensory cortex. Many of my fantasy-prone friends have an unusual lack of feeling in the right thigh (regulated by the sensory lobe directly adjacent to the pleasure center). I conjecture that fantasy involves so many neurons in the pleasure center that the neurons in adjacent areas simply cease to function.

I also feel that fantasy employs the amygdala, a part of the brain that regulates anxiety disorders, fear, memory, and emotion, coordinating them with innate physical responses. Implementation of the amygdala is necessary for fantasy, an activity deeply rooted in fear and emotion – One might find himself or herself making instinctual facial expressions at events in fantasy, as well as experiencing a quickened heart rate, pulsing vessels, and other intrinsic reactions to the intensity of the daydream. During anxiety reactions to possible risks, I suspect fantasy prones find themselves becoming afraid because they imagine what might happen --they imagine a spider in the shower; they imagine the killer behind the curtain; they imagine being wrong, unfunny, ill-received – and the amygdala begins to react.

The conclusion I draw from all of my observations is that being fantasy prone has a causal relationship to mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety. However, I must prove these conjectures scientifically. I plan to start with a preliminary survey that would draw fantasy prones from around the bi-collegiate area and might involve a cross-sectional study, for many results show that both fantasy and mental illness dissipate with time. As part of this survey, I will count the number of instances fantasy correlates with one or more mental illnesses. If the number of correlated cases is high, then I will begin drawing patients for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The procedure for the MRI will involve asking the subject to fantasize while cranial blood flow is measured (specifically to the amygdala and pleasure cortex).

If my hypothesis is correct, and fantasy does cause structural and chemical changes in the brain, a lot is at stake in the way of neurobiological research; fantasy may affect not only mental illness, but everything that humans do (i.e. opinions, outlooks, actions, personality). I am writing this blog entry to enlighten the public of my conjectures, and hope that as the the Web of Influence grows over the course of this semester, word will be spread about the power and potential of fantasy.

Glamourous
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This causes the question, do you really think you're Otherkin, or is it all simply a grand mental delusion?

I am what I am, whatever that may be.
2009-07-09 16:59
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Elinox
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Post: #2
Re: Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
First, please post an introduction, thank you.

Secondly, there is no way to know if we're right in thinking we're things other than human or simply batshit insane. Those of us that present intelligent info and come across as having long researched and thought about our beliefs are, I doubt, crazy. There's always the possibility, of course, but there comes a point where all the internal researching has to simply be left to belief.

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2009-07-09 17:13
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Post: #3
Re: Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
Most mature otherkin will readily admit that it may all be an overactive imagination. However, it is a *belief*. It is no odder than christianity, hinduism, shinto, etc. Have fun trying to get a fundamentalist christian to admit that they might be praying to an imaginary sky fairy.
2009-07-09 20:54
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Cerridwen
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Re: Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
It's fun to poke fun at Christians and say their God is a giant faerie, but I'm trying to be more respectful these days, hehe. Wish they would stop trying to convert me though, you never see Hindus doing that. *sigh*

I am what I am, whatever that may be.
2009-07-09 21:02
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Malakoi
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Post: #5
Re: Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
According to this article, I have a 'fantasy prone personalitiy', and generally, I agree. I have always had an overactive imagination, and spend a huge amount of time daydreaming about various things.
However, and I may be mistaken, I do not think that this has much to do with my reasoning in thinking I may be/have been something other than a human being. The things that compelled me to adopt the Otherkin label went beyond anything that was an obvious product of my imagination.

Also, I think that those who are so imaginative, in spite of the "realness" of their fantasies, are perfectly aware that these things are imagined. Imaginary friends are a particularly good example. As a child, I introduced my imaginary friend to everyone, even though I actually knew that he did not exist, except as a part of my imagination. I would say that these imaginative people who claim that these things (psychic experiences, ghost sightings, etc) are real or really happening are lying and that they probably know better, rather than victims of mental illness. XD

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2009-07-09 22:55
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a wolf
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Post: #6
Re: Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
Yes. For most of us there is little need to worry about whether we are delusional or not. We can question it, sure, but until their is some proof that we are wrong, like many beliefs, there is no point in getting rid of what is harmless. I have often entertained the idea that my theriotype may be a metaphor I use to define parts of my personality and I'm happier for it, so what the hey.

I too have a fantasy-prone personality (minus a couple traits, but strong on daydreaming and the physical reaction to scary thoughts part) but I think that I am also a fairly reasonable and functioning person. Having vibrant daydreams is a useful skill when doing menial tasks. <!-- sBig Grin --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- sBig Grin -->
2009-07-20 6:36
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Archer
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Post: #7
Re: Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
a wolf Wrote:Yes. For most of us there is little need to worry about whether we are delusional or not.

Unless there is hard, clear evidence that we are wrong that we refuse to accept, by definition we are not delusional.

Here's an example. "I have a tail made out of shadow-energy, which only I can feel." No hard evidence against this, therefore it cannot be a delusion.
"I have a physical tail that can knock things over." Easily disproved by hard evidence, so someone believing this with evidence to the contrary is delusional.

"Delusions" are not simply false or whacky beleifs.

Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas

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2009-07-20 11:24
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Post: #8
Re: Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
Cerridwen Wrote:This causes the question, do you really think you're Otherkin, or is it all simply a grand mental delusion?

Oh and - actually I don't think it does anything of the sort.

If this person carries out a large scale study that shows a correlation between certain kinds of mental illness and imagination/fantasy-proneness, then it might do something.

As it stands though this isn't even the most basic start of a research project - it's just a very vague idea for something that might be worth looking into.

Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas

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2009-07-20 11:28
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Cerridwen
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Post: #9
Re: Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
Archer Wrote:
a wolf Wrote:Yes. For most of us there is little need to worry about whether we are delusional or not.

Unless there is hard, clear evidence that we are wrong that we refuse to accept, by definition we are not delusional.

Here's an example. "I have a tail made out of shadow-energy, which only I can feel." No hard evidence against this, therefore it cannot be a delusion.
"I have a physical tail that can knock things over." Easily disproved by hard evidence, so someone believing this with evidence to the contrary is delusional.

"Delusions" are not simply false or whacky beleifs.

I thought that when suffering from delusion, it would be a personal thing, unless you have an epic delusion shared by many others. Say you did have that physical tail that knocked things over, surely someone can see the thing being knocked over as evidence to it's existence. Or are you saying that both parties have to be concious of the physical thing? So, you have to feel it, we have to register it? Sorry, not sure if that makes much sense. Philosophy isn't my forte, lol.

I am what I am, whatever that may be.
2009-07-22 5:15
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Post: #10
Re: Otherkin or 'fantasy prone personlity'?
Delusion is a personal thing. Archer's example was meant to show the difference between what is delusion and what isn't. If Archer did have that physical tail than she would not be delusional in believing that she had it since no one could say she didn't have it. Now if she believed that she had a physical tail when she didn't she would be delusional since all evidence points to her not having a tail. Delusion is believing in something when all evidence contradicts it. You could call Creationists delusional since right now all evidence points to Earth being much older than what the Bible says and they adamantly refuse to even consider any other evidence besides the Bible. I hope that cleared it up.


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2009-07-22 16:04
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