Sunday, April 7, 2013

Imaginary Brain Playmate

Researchers at the University of Oregon and the University of Washington have been studying imaginary playmates. An article in the journal Developmental Psychology reported that what people once thought was a rare phenomenon of early childhood development is not rare, and neither is it a red flag. In fact, children’s pretend play can persist well into school years and may morph into a different form. The power of imagination is a mental faculty built into the brain (likely in the right frontal lobe). If you have honed your imagination, those skills can help you plan, envision, create, innovate, invent, set and achieve goals, and so on. Without these skills, I believe a brain can actually be handicapped in thinking ahead, figuring out what something may be like, and what may be needed in the situation. My brain created an imaginary First Nation playmate, although I learned quickly to keep quiet about it. Growing up in Canada, Little John Deerfoot (and I have no idea where that name came from!) was the recipient of a great deal of my childhood chatter about life. Today, when I pull up his image in my mind’s eye, he is as clear as if he were here in person, with his jet-black hair, beaded headband, single feather stuck in the back, and buff deer-skin clothing with fringe. Lots of fringe! Did you have an imaginary playmate?

No comments: