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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter includes a discussion of imagination and dissociation across the life span. Dissociation is best known as a pathological phenomenon related to pathological mental disorders. However, dissociation can be theoretically and empirically broken down into normal and nonpathological types. Theoretical and empirical findings supporting a distinction between pathological and normal dissociation are discussed, along with developmental differences in normal and pathological dissociation. Specific topics include fantasy, absorption, daydreaming, imaginary companions, stuffed animals, paracosms, role play, and fiction writing. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future research, including the need for further work investigating the state versus trait dissociation, normal versus pathological dissociation, and the mechanisms by which creative adults make use of dissociation in their work.

Keywords: absorption, dissociation, dissociative processes, fantasy, nonpathological dissociation, normal dissociation, pathological dissociation

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