Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Imagine yourself walking into a restaurant and being seated by the hostess. Suddenly, the little boy at the table next to you jumps up in his chair and starts to point and shout “No, no, you can't sit there! That's where Curly Thomas is sitting!” The boy is outraged; his mother is visibly embarrassed. No Curly Thomas is in sight. What is going on? There are two answers. First, you have inadvertently stepped into a child's fantasy play, by sitting at the table where the little boy's imaginary companion was resting his legs and eating an imaginary lunch. Second, in reading and comprehending this scenario, you have exhibited what some researchers consider a long-term effect of childhood fantasy play: the ability to envision, and to form a mental image of, alternative possible worlds. When we read, as well as when we daydream, remember, and replay scenes (perhaps changing the details, ...