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.
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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.