Kapitány, R, Hampejs, T and Goldstein, TR (2022) Pretensive Shared Reality: From Childhood Pretense to Adult Imaginative Play. Frontiers in Psychology, 13. ISSN 1664-1078

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Imaginative pretend play is often thought of as the domain of young children, yet adults regularly engage in elaborated, fantastical, social-mediated pretend play. We describe imaginative play in adults via the term "pretensive shared reality;" Shared Pretensive Reality describes the ability of a group of individuals to employ a range of higher-order cognitive functions to explicitly and implicitly share representations of a bounded fictional reality in predictable and coherent ways, such that this constructed reality may be explored and invented/embellished with shared intentionality in an ad hoc manner. Pretensive Shared Reality facilitates multiple individual and social outcomes, including generating personal and group-level enjoyment or mirth, the creation or maintenance of social groups, or the safe exploration of individual self-concepts (such as alternative expression of a players sexual or gender identity). Importantly, Pretensive Shared Reality (both within the specific context of table-top role-playing games, and other instances) are primarily co-operative and co-creative. We draw on multiple examples, and focus on Table-Top Role Playing games (TTRPG) - and specifically, the most popular and enduring table-top role-playing games, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) - as a primary example of such play. Our conception of "pretensive shared reality" links the widespread existence and forms of adult imaginative play to childhood pretense, places it within a developmental and evolutionary context, and argues that pretensive shared realities - which underpin many forms of imaginative culture - are an important topic of study unto themselves, and may be utilized to provide methodological insight into a variety of psychological domains.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 Kapitany, Hampejs and Goldstein. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Uncontrolled Keywords: pretense; pretend play; games; imagination; table-top role playing; Dungeons & Dragons; pretensive shared reality
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2022 11:32
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2022 13:36
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/10698

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