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Imaginative Minds$
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Ilona Roth

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264195

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264195.001.0001

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Autonomy and Control in Children’s Interactions with Imaginary Companions

Autonomy and Control in Children’s Interactions with Imaginary Companions

(p.81) 4 Autonomy and Control in Children’s Interactions with Imaginary Companions
Imaginative Minds




British Academy

This chapter discusses children’s private role play with imaginary companions and playmates which the children created and interacted with and/or talked about regularly. Although imaginary companions are at times integrated into play with other children or family members, this type of role play in general occurs within a solitary context. Imaginary companions are interesting as they provide information on social and cognitive development. For instance, relationships formed by children with their imaginary companion offer a glimpse of the child’s concept of friendship and how it functions. In this chapter, explanations of why some children create imaginary companions with negative characteristics are considered. It discusses how studies of negative imaginary companions of children has the potential of providing fresh information on the distinction between automatic and controlled processes in consciousness and the relation between inhibitory play and pretend play.

Keywords:   children, role play, imaginary companions, social development, cognitive development, negative imaginary companions, automatic processes, controlled processes, inhibitory play, pretend play

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