Summary: An imagined sequence of events or mental images, e.g., daydreams.

Top Publications

  1. Giesbrecht T, Lynn S, Lilienfeld S, Merckelbach H. Cognitive processes in dissociation: an analysis of core theoretical assumptions. Psychol Bull. 2008;134:617-647 pubmed publisher
    ..propensity toward pseudo-memories, possibly mediated by heightened levels of interrogative suggestibility, fantasy proneness, and cognitive failures...
  2. Mason M, Norton M, Van Horn J, Wegner D, Grafton S, Macrae C. Wandering minds: the default network and stimulus-independent thought. Science. 2007;315:393-5 pubmed
    ..quot; In addition, individuals' reports of the tendency of their minds to wander were correlated with activity in this network. ..
  3. Wahlen A, Nahum L, Gabriel D, Schnider A. Fake or fantasy: rapid dissociation between strategic content monitoring and reality filtering in human memory. Cereb Cortex. 2011;21:2589-98 pubmed publisher
    ..The role of these memory control mechanisms in the generation of confabulations and disorientation is discussed. ..
  4. Sánchez Bernardos M, Avia M. The relationship between fantasy proneness and schizotypy in adolescents. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2006;194:411-4 pubmed
    Previous research has found substantial relationships between fantasy proneness and schizotypy in adulthood. The aim of the present study is to examine the connections between these constructs in an adolescent sample...
  5. Allison S, von Wahlde L, Shockley T, Gabbard G. The development of the self in the era of the internet and role-playing fantasy games. Am J Psychiatry. 2006;163:381-5 pubmed
  6. Skolnick D, Bloom P. What does Batman think about SpongeBob? children's understanding of the fantasy/fantasy distinction. Cognition. 2006;101:B9-18 pubmed
    Young children reliably distinguish reality from fantasy; they know that their friends are real and that Batman is not. But it is an open question whether they appreciate, as adults do, that there are multiple fantasy worlds...
  7. Giesbrecht T, Merckelbach H, Kater M, Sluis A. Why dissociation and schizotypy overlap: the joint influence of fantasy proneness, cognitive failures, and childhood trauma. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2007;195:812-8 pubmed
    ..The present study investigated whether fantasy proneness, cognitive failures, and childhood trauma may jointly explain the dissociation-schizotypy link...
  8. Green J, Lynn S. Hypnotic responsiveness: expectancy, attitudes, fantasy proneness, absorption, and gender. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2011;59:103-21 pubmed publisher
    ..The authors also found that the association between fantasy proneness and hypnotizability was unaffected by the order of scale administration...
  9. Dalenberg C, Brand B, Gleaves D, Dorahy M, Loewenstein R, Cardena E, et al. Evaluation of the evidence for the trauma and fantasy models of dissociation. Psychol Bull. 2012;138:550-88 pubmed publisher
    ..Others have proposed that dissociation makes individuals prone to fantasy, thereby engendering confabulated memories of trauma...

More Information


  1. Taylor M, Carlson S. The relation between individual differences in fantasy and theory of mind. Child Dev. 1997;68:436-55 pubmed
    The relation between early fantasy/pretense and children's knowledge about mental life was examined in a study of 152 3- and 4-year-old boys and girls. Children were interviewed about their fantasy lives (e.g...
  2. Jensen V, Petty T. The fantasy of being rescued in suicide. Psychoanal Q. 1958;27:327-39 pubmed
  3. Plaud J, Bigwood S. A multivariate analysis of the sexual fantasy themes of college men. J Sex Marital Ther. 1997;23:221-30 pubmed
    Understanding sexual fantasies is important to the scientific study of human sexuality. A sexual fantasy refers to a private or covert experience in which the imagination of desirable sexual activity with a partner is sexually arousing ..
  4. Muris P, Merckelbach H, Peeters E. The links between the Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale (A-DES), fantasy proneness, and anxiety symptoms. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2003;191:18-24 pubmed
    ..and questionnaires measuring posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, other anxiety disorder symptoms, and fantasy proneness...
  5. Merckelbach H, Devilly G, Rassin E. Alters in dissociative identity disorder. Metaphors or genuine entities?. Clin Psychol Rev. 2002;22:481-97 pubmed
    ..As a matter of fact, results of these studies are open to multiple interpretations and in no way refute an interpretation of alters in terms of metaphors for different emotional states. ..
  6. Woolley J. Thinking about fantasy: are children fundamentally different thinkers and believers from adults?. Child Dev. 1997;68:991-1011 pubmed
    Young children are often viewed as being unable to differentiate fantasy from reality...
  7. Merckelbach H, a Campo J, Hardy S, Giesbrecht T. Dissociation and fantasy proneness in psychiatric patients: a preliminary study. Compr Psychiatry. 2005;46:181-5 pubmed
    Nonclinical studies found that dissociative experiences are intimately linked to a trait known as fantasy proneness. We examined the links among dissociative symptoms, fantasy proneness, and impulsivity in psychiatric outpatients...
  8. Rassin E, Merckelbach H, Spaan V. When dreams become a royal road to confusion: realistic dreams, dissociation, and fantasy proneness. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2001;189:478-81 pubmed
    ..As expected, respondents who reported this type of confusion scored higher on fantasy proneness and dissociation measures than respondents who did not report this confusion.
  9. Levin R, Spei E. Relationship of purported measures of pathological and nonpathological dissociation to self-reported psychological distress and fantasy immersion. Assessment. 2004;11:160-8 pubmed
    ..Both DES subscales were also associated with elevated levels of "normative" imaginative involvement (fantasy proneness, absorption, daydreaming immersion)...
  10. Merckelbach H, van de Ven V. Another White Christmas: fantasy proneness and reports of 'hallucinatory experiences' in undergraduate students. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2001;32:137-44 pubmed
    ..Fourteen participants (32%) pressed the button at least once. These participants had higher scores on fantasy proneness and the Launay-Slade Hallucination Scale (LSHS) compared to participants without hallucinatory reports...
  11. Merckelbach H, Muris P. The causal link between self-reported trauma and dissociation: a critical review. Behav Res Ther. 2001;39:245-54 pubmed
    ..between trauma and dissociation; and (3) high scores on the Dissociative Experiences Scale are accompanied by fantasy proneness, heightened suggestibility, and susceptibility to pseudomemories...
  12. Davis P, Meins E, Fernyhough C. Self-knowledge in childhood: relations with children's imaginary companions and understanding of mind. Br J Dev Psychol. 2011;29:680-6 pubmed publisher
    ..We consider how having an IC may provide children with opportunities to distinguish between knowledge that is inaccessible to an external observer and that which an external observer may glean without being told. ..
  13. Kelly B. Alice in wonderland: the psychiatric perspective. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2008;29:239 pubmed publisher
  14. Achtziger A, Fehr T, Oettingen G, Gollwitzer P, Rockstroh B. Strategies of intention formation are reflected in continuous MEG activity. Soc Neurosci. 2009;4:11-27 pubmed publisher
    Self-regulation of intention formation is pivotal for achieving behavior change. Fantasy realization theory (Oettingen, 2000) assumes that mentally contrasting a desired positive future with present negative reality turns high ..
  15. Martins N, Williams D, Ratan R, Harrison K. Virtual muscularity: a content analysis of male video game characters. Body Image. 2011;8:43-51 pubmed publisher
    ..Idealized male characters were more likely to be found in games for children than in games for adults. Implications for cultivation theory are discussed. ..
  16. Mooradian T, Davis M, Matzler K. Dispositional empathy and the hierarchical structure of personality. Am J Psychol. 2011;124:99-109 pubmed
    ..Perspective taking has complex, interstitial relationships with the 5 factors. In contrast, fantasy is not well explained by the 5 factors...
  17. Collins S. On authenticity: the question of truth in construction and autobiography. Int J Psychoanal. 2011;92:1391-409 pubmed publisher
    ..Developments on the role of fantasy and myth in reconstruction and contemporary debates over objectivity have?increasingly highlighted the question ..
  18. Haraldsson E, Abu Izzedin M. Persistence of "past-life" memories in adults who, in their childhood, claimed memories of a past life. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012;200:985-9 pubmed publisher
    ..There were no indications that the past-life memories had a detrimental effect on the participants' development into adulthood. They were all leading normal active lives. ..
  19. Berkowski M, MacDonald D. Childhood trauma and the development of paranormal beliefs. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2014;202:305-12 pubmed publisher further investigate this link by replicating previous models that have shown a link between childhood trauma, fantasy proneness, and paranormal beliefs...
  20. Marcusson Clavertz D, Cardena E, Terhune D. Daydreaming style moderates the relation between working memory and mind wandering: Integrating two hypotheses. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2016;42:451-64 pubmed publisher
    ..These results suggest that the content and context of mind wandering episodes play important roles in the relation between executive processes and mind wandering. ..
  21. Yost M, Zurbriggen E. Gender differences in the enactment of sociosexuality: an examination of implicit social motives, sexual fantasies, coercive sexual attitudes, and aggressive sexual behavior. J Sex Res. 2006;43:163-73 pubmed
    ..For women, an unrestricted sociosexual orientation was associated with sexual fantasies of dominance and lower levels of sexual conservatism. ..
  22. Calvo L. Racial fantasies and the primal scene of miscegenation. Int J Psychoanal. 2008;89:55-70 pubmed publisher
    The primal scene, theorized by Freud in his case history of the Wolf Man, is a fantasy scenario thoroughly embedded in social relations...
  23. Rassin E, van Rootselaar A. From dissociation to trauma? Individual differences in dissociation as predictor of 'trauma' perception. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2006;37:127-39 pubmed
    ..Hence, there is reason to argue that people differ in their readiness to perceive a situation as traumatic. However, the association between self-reported dissociation and the perception of 'trauma' is not quite clear-cut. ..
  24. Shapiro T. Masturbation, sexuality, and adaptation: normalization in adolescence. J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2008;56:123-46 pubmed publisher
    During adolescence the central masturbation fantasy that is formulated during childhood takes its final form and paradoxically must now be directed outward for appropriate object finding and pair matching in the service of procreative ..
  25. Langer A, Cangas A, Serper M. Analysis of the multidimensionality of hallucination-like experiences in clinical and nonclinical Spanish samples and their relation to clinical symptoms: implications for the model of continuity. Int J Psychol. 2011;46:46-54 pubmed publisher
    ..Overall, these results support the notion that hallucination-like experiences are closer to a quasi-continuum approach and that total scores on these scales explain a state of vulnerability to general perceptual disturbance. ..
  26. De Masi F. Psychotic withdrawal and the overthrow of psychic reality. Int J Psychoanal. 2006;87:789-807 pubmed
    The author attempts to distinguish between the world of fantasy and the imagination (which fuels our capacity to 'dream') from a withdrawal into fantasy...
  27. Ogden T. Reading Susan Isaacs: toward a radically revised theory of thinking. Int J Psychoanal. 2011;92:925-42 pubmed publisher
  28. Mevissen F, Meertens R, Ruiter R, Schaalma H. Bedtime stories: the effects of self-constructed risk scenarios on imaginability and perceived susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections. Psychol Health. 2012;27:1036-47 pubmed publisher
    ..The imaginability of the event seemed to mediate the effect of self-constructed scenario information on perceived susceptibility. Recommendations for health education practices are discussed. ..
  29. Carrick N, Quas J. Effects of discrete emotions on young children's ability to discern fantasy and reality. Dev Psychol. 2006;42:1278-88 pubmed
    This study examined 3- to 5-year-olds' (N = 128; 54% girls) ability to discriminate emotional fantasy and reality...
  30. Maniglio R. The role of parent-child bonding, attachment, and interpersonal problems in the development of deviant sexual fantasies in sexual offenders. Trauma Violence Abuse. 2012;13:83-96 pubmed publisher
    To understand the origin, development, and functions of deviant sexual fantasy in sexual offenders, the present article investigates three areas of the literature on sexual offenders (i.e...
  31. Kaptanoglu M. If Jules Verne had a stage IV lung cancer; a science fiction solution of cancer. J BUON. 2007;12:137-8 pubmed
  32. Thomas L, Gorzalka B. Effect of sexual coercion proclivity, insult and fantasy on emotional reactivity and appeal of sexual aggression. Violence Against Women. 2012;18:973-95 pubmed
    ..Sexual Coercion Proclivity (SCP) and randomly assigned to one of three conditions: Insult/nonsexually coercive fantasy material; no insult/sexually coercive fantasy material; or, insult/sexually coercive fantasy material...
  33. Taylor M, Hulette A, Dishion T. Longitudinal outcomes of young high-risk adolescents with imaginary companions. Dev Psychol. 2010;46:1632-6 pubmed publisher
    ..However, a longitudinal follow-up at the end of high school indicated that the children who had imaginary companions in middle school showed greater positive adjustment on a multiple-indicator adjustment construct. ..
  34. Ogden T. On three forms of thinking: magical thinking, dream thinking, and transformative thinking. Psychoanal Q. 2010;79:317-47 pubmed
    ..In transformative thinking, one creates a new way of ordering experience that allows one to generate types of feeling, forms of object relatedness, and qualities of aliveness that had previously been unimaginable. ..
  35. Mahon E. The uncanny in a dream. Psychoanal Q. 2012;81:713-25 pubmed
    ..If dream experience in general can be considered uncanny, the dream work deployed this particular inclusion of an uncanny, "fictitious" representation of reality for complex dynamic reasons, the author maintains. ..
  36. Kádár G. [Self-assertion communication in the family]. Psychiatr Hung. 2005;20:84-94 pubmed
    ..It is also shown that at interpersonal level, the self-assertion tendencies of the child are negatively correlated to the emphatic skills of family members. ..
  37. Paul B. Predicting internet pornography use and arousal: the role of individual difference variables. J Sex Res. 2009;46:344-57 pubmed publisher
    ..Results are discussed in terms of their potential value for understanding an often overlooked first step in the process of pornography consumption. ..
  38. Marozza M. When does a dream begin to 'have meaning'? Linguistic constraints and significant moments in the construction of the meaning of a dream. J Anal Psychol. 2005;50:693-705 pubmed
  39. Dossetor D. 'All that glitters is not gold': misdiagnosis of psychosis in pervasive developmental disorders--a case series. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2007;12:537-48 pubmed
    ..It is evident that more needs to be done to improve diagnostic reliability of psychosis in PDD, by improving clinical awareness and research tools. ..
  40. Salomonsson B. Psychoanalytic case presentations in a weaving thoughts group: on countertransference and group dynamics. Int J Psychoanal. 2012;93:917-37 pubmed publisher
    ..This article indicates the method's similarities and differences compared with other formats. Arguments are supported by a child psychotherapy session, but the method is equally suitable for adult case material. ..
  41. Smith S. Car buffs. Minn Med. 2006;89:12 pubmed
  42. Davison A. 'Not to escape the world but to join it': responding to climate change with imagination not fantasy. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2017;375: pubmed publisher
    ..two modes under which the human imagination can operate: in Murdoch's terms, these are 'imagination' and 'fantasy'...
  43. Glick R, Roose S. Talking about medication. J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2006;54:745-62 pubmed
    ..In these situations, effective analysis requires the analyst to be "bilingual," to hold in mind both the analytic and the pharmacological model. ..
  44. Maltsberger J, Ronningstam E, Weinberg I, Schechter M, Goldblatt M. Suicide fantasy as a life-sustaining recourse. J Am Acad Psychoanal Dyn Psychiatry. 2010;38:611-23 pubmed publisher
    ..How are we to distinguish between those daydreams that augur an impending attempt from those that help patients calm down? ..
  45. Hagood L. Dreamplay. Psychoanal Rev. 2007;94:475-91 pubmed
  46. Terhune D, Cardena E, Lindgren M. Dissociative tendencies and individual differences in high hypnotic suggestibility. Cogn Neuropsychiatry. 2011;16:113-35 pubmed publisher
    ..hypnotic suggestibility scales and completed measures of free recall, working memory capacity, imagery, fantasy-proneness, psychopathology, and exposure to stressful life events...
  47. Krizan Z, Miller J, Johar O. Wishful thinking in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Psychol Sci. 2010;21:140-6 pubmed publisher
    ..Finally, changes in electoral expectations were consequential, as they shaped disappointment in the electoral results even after taking candidate preferences into account. ..
  48. Freedman N, Lasky R, Webster J. The ordinary and the extraordinary countertransference. J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2009;57:303-31 pubmed publisher
    ..Detailed psychoanalytic observation of the four sessions that lie beyond empirical validation led to a formulation of the analyst's state of consciousness during these pivotal hours. ..
  49. Ballon B, Leszcz M. Horror films: tales to master terror or shapers of trauma?. Am J Psychother. 2007;61:211-30 pubmed
    ..The outcome of this exposure is related to how the individual's personality structure is organized in combination with the stresses they are experiencing. ..
  50. Murawiec S, Zechowski C. [Schizophrenic patient's constant refusal of psychotropic medication--case report and psychodynamic remarks]. Psychiatr Pol. 2007;41:551-60 pubmed
    ..The authors described the influence of these factors on the efficacy of psychotropic medication and compliance of patient. ..
  51. Paul R. Cultural narratives and the succession scenario: Slumdog Millionaire and other popular films and fictions. Int J Psychoanal. 2011;92:451-70 pubmed publisher
  52. Hohner M, Puschel K. [Subject for discussion: is sexual abuse of a sleeping person possible or fantasy or simulated?]. Arch Kriminol. 2011;228:203-8 pubmed
    ..The paper presents two cases of non-consenting penetrating intercourse with sleeping women and various legal and expert opinions. The authors discuss the possible influence of drugs and alcohol. ..
  53. Schaefer G, Mundt I, Feelgood S, Hupp E, Neutze J, Ahlers C, et al. Potential and Dunkelfeld offenders: two neglected target groups for prevention of child sexual abuse. Int J Law Psychiatry. 2010;33:154-63 pubmed publisher
    ..The results suggest that targeting potential and Dunkelfeld offenders could prove a worthwhile approach in the prevention of child sexual abuse. ..