what is imagination?
24 Nov 06
Imagination is, in general, the power and process of producing mental images and ideas. The term is technically used in psychology for the process of reviving in the mind percepts of objects formerly given in sense perception. Since this use of the term conflicts with that of ordinary language, some psychologists have preferred to describe this process as "imaging" or "imagery" or to speak of it as "reproductive" as opposed to "productive" or "constructive" imagination. Imagined images are seen with the "mind's eye". One hypothesis for the evolution of human imagination is that it allowed conscious beings to solve problems (and hence increase an individual's fitness) by use of mental simulation. The common use of the term is for the process of forming in the mind new images which have not been previously experienced, or at least only partially or in different combinations. Fairy tales and fiction generally are the result of this process of combination. A form of verisimilitude often invoked in fantasy and science fiction invites readers to pretend such stories are true by referring to objects of the mind such as fictional books or years that do not exist apart from an imaginary world. Imagination in this sense, not being limited to the acquisition of exact knowledge by the requirements of practical necessity, is, up to a certain point, free from objective restraints. The ability to imagine one's self in another person's place is very important to social relations and understanding. (Some psychiatrists suspect this is beyond the grasp of a sociopath. All they know is the gratification of personal pleasure). In various spheres, however, even imagination is in practice limited: thus a man whose imaginations do violence to the elementary laws of thought, or to the necessary principles of practical possibility, or to the reasonable probabilities of a given case is regarded as insane. Source: http://www.answers.com/imagination?initiator=IE7:SearchBox