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  1. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Ways to quickly identify someone's phobias or fears

    Discussion in 'Research' started by DeathandGrim, Sep 21, 2013.

    I finally found a concept I can write on that sounds better as a book rather than a comic. It's about an ordinary man who becomes a psychological vigilante, using the fears and phobias of those he hunts to bring justice.

    The subject of fear is gonna require a Large amount of research but I wanted to ask the community, is there a quick and easily discernible way to identify a fear or phobia someone has? I want my hero to be able to do this on the fly at some points.
     
  2. ScaryMonster
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    I'd recommend reading Clive Barkers short story "Dread," which is more about studying peoples phobias and torturing them in order to do so. And the consequences.

    A psychological vigilante, using the fears? It sounds like "The Shadow," of the serialized dramas from the 1930s.
     
  3. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I love how your name works so well with the topic.

    While I wanna steer clear of torture (maybe not) I'll look into Clive's tale, sounds right up this alley
     
  4. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    where the mind is without fear...
    No, unless the char can read minds. Sometimes the person who has the phobia doesn't know he/she has it until they experience it. I found out I had fear of heights at the age of 17. I climbed a mountain for 2 straight days, reached the peak which was small in area and devoid of any tall vegetation other than grass. I just couldn't stand up, and celebrated the conquering of the peak lying on my stomach feeling dizzy and nauseating.

    Your hero can certainly form an opinion about what might the person in front of him might fear, but it's never going to be 100 % accurate if he doesn't have any extra power. I mean even a psychiatric can get wrong after talking to and observing the patient for many hours.
     
  5. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    There's no reason you can't say that your character has developed a strange power (or even just a knack) to be able to guess someone's phobias. Unless you want a really "realistic" story, I guess.
     
  6. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I was actually thinking about this on my ride home from work, because the main character is a Psychology professor and student psychologist (who also sees his own shrink) and I thought Hell, why not? It's fiction. I thought of the idea of him reading messages encoded in the Iris of the eye that lays out rational thought processes. The Iris lays out everything from personal likes to fears and dislikes and he's learned how to read them perfectly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There was a demon in 'Charmed' called Barbas, he used fear against people, and killed them in that way.
     
  8. Huck
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    Huck Member

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    Sounds pretty good to me, I personally wouldn't like to read about a character with a magical power but if he just had an enhanced ability to see people's reactions through there eyes , then all it would take for him is to bring up the right type of conversation, & he'd be fairly savy in getting people to talk themselves into the conversation he wants to have with them.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    I would consider this not just fiction, but science fiction or fantasy. There's nothing inherently wrong with science fiction or fantasy, but I would have trouble believing it in regular fiction.

    Now, I could buy that someone could judge that a person has a phobia of dogs, based on that person's reactions--body language, breathing, etc., etc.--to the presence of a dog in the distance. Or that they have claustrophobia, based on their reaction when a vehicle goes through a tunnel. And so on. I found the TV show _Lie to Me_ adequately convincing.

    But I think that the cause of the phobia would have to be present, rather than the psychology professor looking in the eyes of a person sitting in a coffee shop and saying, "Aha! He's afraid of tarantulas!"
     
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  10. BillC
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    Sounds like mentalism in a way...
     
  11. ScaryMonster
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    What about an evil government that implants phobias into peoples minds in order to control them?
    For example they might imprison people and insure they never try to escape my giving them agoraphobia. Or policophobia the fear of cops. Load the right phobia and you can control anyone.
     
  12. CharlesPenn
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    What about if the main protagonist, the psychological fear inducing justice seeker, was an Empathic of some kind and could sense the fears of others?
     
  13. zabaar
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    Or perhaps maybe based on subtle, unconscious actions that may seem to make no sense on the surface but deep down, it reveals their phobias, every bit of it.

    For example a man who fears heights may climb steps never more than one at a time (just an example), but based on his analysis, experience & knowledge he figures that it is the man's unconscious desire to ensure that he does not get too 'high', therefore, safeguarding his conscious phobia of heights.
     
  14. Kramitdfrog
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    He could be really good at reading physiological responses and facial recognition. While this isn't an exact science he could use questions to motivate responses to see how a person responded. Sherlock from Elementary or even the Scottish show Cracker comes to mind... Simple questions can reveal alot about a person and even crack them open. Notice a person slight twitch at a certain question... doesn't mean this one question is correct but you can explore how to break a person down after a few more questions watching their body and face bend to your will, muhahahahah.

    I'm also thinking of the TV show Alpha's. A psychologist, hmm you could even write it so that time almost seems to slow down when he is dissecting each of the persons personality and physiological responses. No magic needed just a really geeky shrink that shrinks you down to nothing...

    Think Hannibal Lecture!!!!!
     

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