They can take the forms of people, animals, fantastical creatives – and studies have shown that some 60 percent of kids between the ages of 3 and 8 have had them. They are imaginary friends.
Research has shown that imaginary companions are a normal part of growing up, and resembles a process of creation much like how a fiction writer would create characters.
Why do kids have imaginary friends? What can they tell us about the development of a child’s imagination and creativity? What can we learn about relationships from these imaginary friendships?
Marjorie Taylor, a professor of psychology at University of Oregon, author of “Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them" (1999, Oxford University Press). Her research focuses on the development of imagination and creativity in kids.
Tracy R. Gleason, a professor of psychology and the Psychological Director of the Child Study Center at Wellesley College