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Safa Sohail

Safa Sohail

Safa recently graduated from Heriot-Watt University, receiving a BSc Psychology degree, after joining the university in 2018. As a research assistant, she worked alongside her psychology professors at Heriot-Watt in academic research. As an undergraduate student, she also participated in graphic design work for the university and small businesses, and social media management for charity organisations.

Fantasizing between the lines: Fantasy, imagery vividness and empathy in the digital age

Fantasy is often looked at through a psychopathological lens and is often associated with psychopathological disorders (Weibel et al., 2018). In the current research study, fantasy is conceptualised two different constructs, imaginative and creative fantasy. Imaginative fantasy covers individual imaginative propensity while creative fantasy determines extent of engagement in creative production. In a sample of 119 undergraduate students living in the UAE, fantasy and its components were found to correlate with the variables, imagery vividness during reading and empathy. Imagery vividness during reading can be understood as the ability to conjure mental picturizations of a narrative text’s contents. To this effect, fantasy and imagery vividness are said to have an impact on empathy, yet no other study has investigated the three variables in conjunction. Results revealed that imagery vividness was a complete mediator between each construct of fantasy and empathy showing the crucial role of imagery vividness in predicting empathy among fantasy personalities. This presentation will examine how this study brings into view a framework upon which to understand the impact of fantasy on personality and emotional experiences. The practical implications of this framework for clinicians, counsellors, educators and AI developers will be explored.

Weibel, D., Martarelli, C. S., Häberli, D., & Mast, F. W. (2018). The fantasy questionnaire: A measure to assess creative and imaginative fantasy. Journal of Personality Assessment, 100(4), 431-443.

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