Friday, September 21, 2007

Fantasy Prone Personality


A few months ago I was surfing around on the Coast to Coast AM website. It’s great entertainment. You know the routine, Ghost pictures, alien autopsies, mummified mermaids. I thought it was a kind of funny that there were very few kooky ideas that didn’t make it onto the site.
I also checked a few of the external links from the site. If I was at a ghost hunting site they would have links to Bigfoot sites. The Bigfoot sites would have links to alien abduction site and 9-11 conspiracy sites. It was almost as if in order to believe in ghosts you had to accept the whole gambit of weird ideas. It’s very rare that I would find somebody who believed one woo-woo idea and rejected the rest.
I read a paper written by a neurologist that described something called the Fantasy Prone Personality (FPP). The idea is that when we were children there is part of our brain that creates fantasies. Perhaps the rest of our brain vetting out if our fantasies are real or not teaches us rationality. Perhaps this is the source of creativity in our brains. At any case most of us outgrow this belief in fantasy as a child. But to varying degrees many of us do not.
Dr. Novella points out that people with FPP are more susceptible to hypnosis and have a strong desire to believe things without evidence. I think this is exactly why so many of these kooky ideas seem to be joined at the hip.
What brought this up is a local talk radio show that a friend of the family has been doing for a few years. I heard about The Dr. Chris Green Show a couple a years ago and just recently decided to listen to it. Dr. Chris seems to be suffering from FPP. He believes that the entirety of mainstream medicine is a global conspiracy. He recommended that a woman with ovarian cancer come in to his office for a homeopathic detox rather than get a biopsy. On September 11th his whole show was pretty much and “amen” to Alex Jones’ 9-11 conspiracy theories. Well today he made the claim that Autism is a side-effect of Irritable Bowel Syndrome which is caused by the MMR vaccine. If I didn’t know better I’d just laugh and accept that this is parody and satire. It isn’t.
I suppose that listening to things like this can be intriguing. I personally am much more intrigued by reality. Yesterday I watched Monster of the Milky Way: A Super-massive Black Hole. Chris can keep all his woo-woo doctrines. I’m much more fascinated by these types of factual tales.

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