Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Imagination as Expansion of Experience

Zittoun, Tania ; Cerchia, Frédéric

In: Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 2013, vol. 47, no. 3, p. 305-324

This paper proposes a developmental view on imagination: from this perspective, imagination can be seen as triggered by some disrupting event, which generates a disjunction from the person’s unfolding experience of the “real” world, and as unfolding as a loop, which eventually comes back to the actual experience. Examining recent and classical theorization of imagination in psychology, the... More

Add to personal list
    Summary
    This paper proposes a developmental view on imagination: from this perspective, imagination can be seen as triggered by some disrupting event, which generates a disjunction from the person’s unfolding experience of the “real” world, and as unfolding as a loop, which eventually comes back to the actual experience. Examining recent and classical theorization of imagination in psychology, the paper opposes a deficitary view of imagination to an expansive notion of imagination. The paper explores Piaget, Vygotsky, Harris and Pelaprat & Cole consider: 1) What does provoke a “rupture” or disjunction? 2) What are the psychological processes involved in the imaginary loop? 3) What nourishes such processes? 4) What are the consequences of such imaginary loop, or what does it enable doing? The paper proposes to adopt an expansive view of imagination, as Vygotsky proposed—a perspective that has been under-explored empirically since his seminal work. To stimulate such sociocultural psychology of imagination, two empirical examples are provided, one showing how children make sense of metaphor in an experimental setting, the other showing a young person using a novel met at school as symbolic resource.