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date: 24 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes commonalities between creativity and imagination. It also explores their differences. The overarching interest is in the development of creativity and imagination, and, interestingly, their separation seems to increase with age. Creativity and imagination both involve thinking that is removed from reality. The individual may be pretending, fantasizing, generating hypothetical options, anticipating the future, thinking counterfactually (about the past), or involved in some worldplay. Each of these may result from the construction of original interpretations, which suggests a mechanism that allows the individual to distance him- or herself from reality. This mechanism is universal. It is related to the top-down processing identified by cognitive science. Creativity and imagination differ in part because the former involves discretion and intentionality, and these are not functional until preadolescence or even adolescence. Implications of this chapter may insure that the imagination of young children grows into an adaptive expression of creativity.

Keywords: counter-factual thinking, creativity, discretion, dissociation, imagination, meta-cognition, mind wandering, originality, over-inclusive thinking, post-conventional thought, pretending, top down processing, transcendence, worldplay

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