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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses different aspects of the relationship between pretend play and creativity. The first part consists of a critical discussion of definitions of creativity and attempts to apply them to different kinds of pretend play, which demonstrates how often definitions of creativity are best applied to adult creativity, despite the fact that many people—at least, laypeople—hold the view that children are more creative than adults. The discussion of this paradox is a theme throughout the chapter. The following section scrutinizes theoretical perspectives concerning their views on the relationship between pretend play/imagination and creativity and the question of whether imagination is a necessary part of creativity. Next, pretend play is discussed as a prerequisite for creative achievement later in life, but also that the opposite is possible. Advanced pretend play might demand higher levels of cognition to develop. However, another relation might also be plausible, that some other mechanisms; for instance, a basic level of meta-representation and executive function, are crucial for both advanced pretend play and creativity. The last part describes individual differences in creativity and pretend play/imagination and possible social, cultural, and clinical influences on these variations.

Keywords: children, cognition, creativity, development, divergent thinking, imagination, individual differences, play, pretend play

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