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Piaget cites the example of a child saying that the moon is following her when she walks around the village at night.

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Like this, perceptions are integrated into the world view to make sense. Imagination is needed to make sense of perceptions. Imagination is different from belief because the subject understands that what is personally invented by the mind does not necessarily affect the course of action taken in the apparently shared world, while beliefs are part of what one holds as truths about both the shared and personal worlds. The play of imagination, apart from the obvious limitations e.

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Belief, on the other hand, is immediately related to practical activity: it is perfectly possible to imagine oneself a millionaire, but unless one believes it one does not, therefore, act as such. Belief endeavors to conform to the subject's experienced conditions or faith in the possibility of those conditions; whereas imagination as such is specifically free. The dividing line between imagination and belief varies widely in different stages of technological development. Thus in more extreme cases, someone from a primitive culture who ill frames an ideal reconstruction of the causes of his illness, and attributes it to the hostile magic of an enemy based on faith and tradition rather than science.

In ignorance of the science of pathology the subject is satisfied with this explanation, and actually believes in it, sometimes to the point of death, due to what is known as the nocebo effect. It follows that the learned distinction between imagination and belief depends in practice on religion, tradition, and culture.

A study using fMRI while subjects were asked to imagine precise visual figures, to mentally disassemble them, or mentally blend them, showed activity in the occipital , frontoparietal, posterior parietal , precuneus , and dorsolateral prefrontal regions of the subject's brains.

Phylogenetic acquisition of imagination was a gradual process.

The simplest form of imagination, REM-sleep dreaming , evolved in mammals with acquisition of REM sleep million years ago. After hominins split from the chimpanzee line 6 million years ago they further improved their imagination. Prefrontal analysis was acquired 3. The most advanced mechanism of imagination, prefrontal synthesis , was likely acquired by humans around 70, years ago and resulted in behavioral modernity. The world as experienced is an interpretation of data arriving from the senses; as such, it is perceived as real by contrast to most thoughts and imaginings. Users of hallucinogenic drugs are said to have a heightened imagination, or perhaps, a kind of heightened imaginative output.


This difference is only one of degree and can be altered by several historic causes, namely changes to brain chemistry, hypnosis or other altered states of consciousness , meditation , many hallucinogenic drugs, and electricity applied directly to specific parts of the brain. The difference between imagined and perceived reality can be proven by psychosis. Many mental illnesses can be attributed to this inability to distinguish between the sensed and the internally created worlds. Some cultures and traditions even view the apparently shared world as an illusion of the mind as with the Buddhist Maya, or go to the opposite extreme and accept the imagined and dreamed realms as of equal validity to the apparently shared world as the Australian Aborigines do with their concept of dreamtime.

Imagination, because of having freedom from external limitations, can often become a source of real pleasure and unnecessary suffering.

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Consistent with this idea, imagining pleasurable and fearful events is found to engage emotional circuits involved in emotional perception and experience. Also crippling fear can result from taking an imagined painful future too seriously.


See in particular:. The dictionary definition of imagination at Wiktionary. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Imagination disambiguation. Creative ability. See also: Mental image and Imagery. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

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Stefan Szczelkun. Imagining Landscapes: Past, Present and Future.

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How did they come together and how has the idea of nationalism been perpetuated in the modern era? Anderson sees the An essential read in comparative and global politics, yet deeply flawed due to significant disregard for the importance of ethnicity and culture without strong evidence to do so.

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Benedict Richard O'Gorman Anderson. We use cookies to enhance your experience. Dismiss this message or find out more. Forgot your password? Don't have an account? Sign up here for discounts and quicker purchasing. The world-famous work on the origins and development of nationalism.

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