Research: The House of Make-Believe’

‘After looking at children’s play, I have decided that I want to know more about the psychology behind play and different types of children’s play. Here are some initial notes which I have taken from Dorothy G. Singer and Jerome L. Singer’s ‘The House of Make-Believe.’

  • Black writer Richard Wright, bad childhood, but could respond to smells, sounds and images to find beauty in an area which lacked it. Reading books helped him escape from poverty and bigotry around him.
  • Furniture and household objects as play – In ‘Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth,’ Leo Tolstoy, ‘decked out an armchair with shawls, turning it into a carriage…with three chairs for horses.’
  • Swedish writer Selma Lagerlof – ‘beds, bureaus, tables and chairs in the nursery,’ covered with blankets and quilts, creating a wall as a backdrop for a play.

– Look at imagination and transformation of everyday/household objects in my own work? Sculptures?

  • Capacity for imagination is not in only one type of child/ a certain background. Required that there is a key person in the child’s life that encourages imagination and accepts the child’s inventions with ‘respect and delight’. Need a place 4 play, time and simple objects/props to inspire adventure.
  • p. 19, Imagination – Adults, reconstructing past (most cognitive research suggests memory to be rarely simply a vivid re-experiencing of actual events.
  • Imagination allows us to have a break from tyranny of life, places, chores and people.
  • Kurt Goldstein, ‘taking an attitude towards the possible.’ = healthy brain. Explore range of possible futures

p.96, Imaginary playmates in their earliest forms:

  • Early 1930s, researchers concerned that children with imaginary friends may be at risk for later psychopathology.
  • Piaget early investigator to suggest more useful role of invention of imaginary friends, a phenomenon intrinsic to cognitive development.
  • 1970s, found to be more common than previously supposed.
  • Martin Manosevitz and Norman Prentice studied preschoolers in Texas – almost a third had had some sort of imaginary friend.
  • With imaginary friends reported by parents to be happier in day-to-day activities and more verbal in communication. Gave up play with ‘make-believe’ friends when real people were there to play with.
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