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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter attempts to place the early roots of adult imagination in the context of the emergence of pretend play in children. Following some brief definitions based on the authors' studies of adult imagination and daydreaming, some historical precursors of psychological research on the behavior of children are examined. Some artistic and literary representations of early children's play such as the Song dynasty painting, or examples from writers like Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson are briefly cited. Both theorizing and systematic research beginning with Freud and then moving to observational and experimental studies of Groos, the Opies, Lewin, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Luria are traced. The authors then move to current views of research encompassing more social and cultural aspects of play, including influences of peers, parents, and schools. Specific research methods for studying imagination in children are summarized.

Keywords: cognitive-affective play theories, influence of media on play, mental imagery, play and mastery, psychoanalytic play theories, sociodramatic play, symbolic play

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