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The Work of the Imagination

Paul L. Harris

ISBN: 978-0-631-21886-9 September 2000 Wiley-Blackwell 236 Pages


This book demonstrates how children's imagination makes a continuing contribution to their cognitive and emotional development.


Bleuler in Weimar.

Pretend Play.

Role Play.

Imagination and Emotion.

Reasoning, Make-believe and Dialogue.

Counterfactual Thinking.

Obligation and Violation.

Beyond Possibility.

Language and Imagination.


Name Index.

Subject Index.

"In a book as creative and inventive as his subject matter, Paul Harris leads us on an intriguing journey into the world of, and the work of, the imagination...he shows us how thoroughly the mundane, the imaginative, and the magical intermingle, in childhood and adulthood, to form the very nature of human cognition." Henry M. Wellman, University of Michigan.

"Paul Harris's intriguing and lucid book summarizes twenty years of empirical research." Alison Gopnik, Science, April 2001

"A fascinating, accessible and extremely well-researched introduction to how much evolutionary psychologists have learnt over the past few years about this unique ability." Infancia y Aprendizaje, vol 24(2), 2001.

"Ground-breaking...this book is quickly becoming required reading for all students of cognitive development and will have an important impact on the field". Social Development

"An extraordinarily comprehensive and informative book" Tamar Szabo Gendler, Mind, Vol. 3, Apr. 2002


"This is a highly interesting, nontechnical, easy to read book on children's imagination and related topics by one of Great Britain's most distinguished developmental psychologist." John H. Flavell. Department of Psychology, Stanford University.

"In a series of ingenious experiments, Paul Harris leads the reader to discoveries and conclusions which are quite extraordinary. The book [has] value and originality." Eugene Subbostsky, Lancaster University

"It is a great topic; some of the ideas and materials are very novel and should create a lot of interest. For example, the chapter and ideas on emotion and pretence, and the discussion of functional issues. The chapters are very smoothly and readably written - fascinating>" Judy Dunn, Institute of Psychiatry, University of London.

"The chapters read very smoothly and well. The writing is clear, there is lots of interesting experimental material and theoretical ideas, always well presented." Peter Carruthers, University of Sheffield.

* Focuses on and brings together key topics in cognitive development in a new and cross-cutting way
* Links pretending and imagination to other aspects of the child's cognitive and emotional development
* The author is one of the world's leading developmental psychologists and an experienced and fluent writer