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November 1934

CHILDREN'S IMAGINARY COMPANIONS

Author Affiliations

CHICAGO

From the Institute for Juvenile Research.

Arch NeurPsych. 1934;32(5):985-999. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1934.02250110073006
Abstract

The phenomenon of imaginary companions, which is usually regarded as normal in children, but which when encountered in adults suggests a psychopathologic condition, appears to have had little investigation. However, numerous theories in regard to its significance have been advanced, some of which are sociologic, others psychologic and others psychoanalytic.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PHENOMENON 

Sociologic Theories.  —Cooley1 observed that:Some children appear to live in personal imagination from the first month. Others occupy themselves in early infancy mostly with solitary experiments upon blocks, cards and other impersonal objects, and their thoughts are doubtlessly filled with images of these.... People differ in the vividness of their imaginative sociability.... There is no separation between real and imaginary persons; indeed to be imagined is to become real in a social sense.Mead2 reported that in New Guinea there are for the children no socially defined lacks in their lives and consequently

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