Fantasy friends

While most children believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny at some point, researchers are now starting to discover that children’s fantasy worlds are more subtle than previously suspected, and may even last into adulthood.

An in-depth article from Science News Online examines a child’s understanding of fantasy characters and how imagination is being used to help children cope with traumatic and painful medical procedures.

One surprising finding is that although one third of 7-year olds seem to have imaginary friends, similar experiences can last into adulthood. Some professions may even rely on this experience to help their work.

Psychologist Marjorie Taylor interviewed 50 fiction writers ranging from an award-winning novelist to scribblers who had never been published. Of those authors, 46 provided vivid examples of made-up characters who had taken over the job of composing their life stories and who sometimes resisted their creators’ attempts to control the narrative. Some fictional folk wandered around in the writers’ houses or otherwise inhabited their everyday world.

Link to article from Science News Online.
Previously on MindHacks: Imaginary friends are linked to positive psychological development in children.

2 Comments

  1. Posted March 31, 2005 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Make believe

    Fascinating article on kids, make-believe, imaginary friends, fantasy, self-hypnosis, myth — and, tangentially, fiction writing. (via Mind Hacks)…

  2. Posted April 10, 2005 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    the boundaries of imagination

    In the very rare times when I have tried to write a large piece of fiction (for which read screenplay) I end up in a strange psychological space. Reality is a bit spongy, characters take over and seem to live…


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