human behavior

New word: autistic fantasy

Posted in Health & Medicine, New Word by humanb on October 26, 2009

allymcbealI learned a new phrase today at the psych hospital to which I’m attached. I thought general medicine had some cool words, but psychiatry hands-down generates the best vocabulary and phrases.

Take verbigeration, which is a bit of a mouthful ironically, and is just a clever way of saying ‘word salad’. It refers to a manner of speech in which a patient uses a mixture of words and phrases that lack comprehensive meaning or logical coherence.

Verbigeration is a feature of speech among the thought disordered, such as some schizophrenics, philosophy students, art critics and former U.S. presidents.

Or take erotomania, the delusion that some specified person is in love with you. Some psychiatric patients, for example, can become convinced that their doctor, nurse or another patient is infatuated with them. Well I don’t have erotomania. I know Spike wants me.

And then there is autistic fantasy, which is excess daydreaming to substitute for relationships and actions. This was humorously portrayed weekly on Ally McBeal and is considered an immature defense mechanism. It is seen in those, for example, with borderline personality disorder.

But who doesn’t daydream excessively of what she would say to her supervisor if her livelihood didn’t depend on her acquiescence to his sadistic will?

Who doesn’t daydream routinely about karate chopping people who display horrific manners, because you couldn’t be bothered having a verbal confrontation?

I’m sure I spent most of my adolescence and teens in a protracted daydream to substitute for friendships and actions. I daydream still. That’s not borderline. No, sirree. That’s a rich internal life. A robust imagination. And a very effective defense mechanism at times, against madness.


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3 Responses

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  1. Adam Jacot de Boinod said, on October 27, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Please forgive me emailing you in such a seemingly cold fashion. You seem to share my love of language and I wondered if you might like a mutual link to my English word website:

    or my Foreign words website:

    with best wishes

    Adam Jacot de Boinod

  2. humanb said, on October 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks Adam. Those are interesting and fun sites. If I can think of any interesting words, I’ll definitely pass them on. 🙂



  3. asimov said, on May 8, 2017 at 3:43 am

    Autistic fantasy is different than risch daydreaming. Daydreaming about how I should or would have solved problems, kick the ass of my boss or think about alternative solutions about my fears (other copying mechanism) is so much different than an AF. AF has basically nothing to do with reality. Most of the time it serves the ego in a way to give it all those grandiose needs that it cannot have from reality, but in a way that is absolutely impossible in reality. Being somebody (superhero, superjob, super geniues etc) or do something (save the world, rule the world etc) is usual for narcisist but also for borderlines. Not necesserily grandiosity is the key word, rather the connection with irreality. Thats why is it infantile, as this way of daydreaming is normal for a child but not normal for a mature adult. It is very important to differentiate between daydreams as it shows a lot, that how much the self is matured or healthy. And it is very hard to get information about these daydreams, as they are part of the most protected inner self and probably the last thing a patient would share even with his/her therapist.

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