Ask a child with an imaginary companion if her pretend friend is real, and often she’ll tell you, “I just made them up!” Of course, moments later, she’ll regale you with stories of the latest adventures with her companion with the utmost conviction.
In the second episode of The Real Guide to Imaginary Companions, a trip into the lab of developmental psychologist Jacqueline Woolley reveals how children can become so enamored with their pretend friends that they blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Woolley also investigates whether a child’s orientation toward fantasy play has ties to real world creativity.
Produced by Science Friday with generous support from the John Templeton Foundation
Produced, directed, and narrated by Luke Groskin
Filmed by Katie Graham, Luke Groskin and Patrick Pelham
Editor by Erika Sutter
Animations by Gabe Darling and Candice Aquino
Music by Audio Network
“Fairy Godmother” voiced by Annie Nero
Additional footage provided by
Pond5.com, A Lost World (1925), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
Special Thanks to Danielle Dana, Jennifer Fenwick, Becky Geer, Tracy Gleason, Elizabeth Delucia Landon, Alex Riviello, Jenny Shalant, Christian Skotte, Marjorie Taylor, and Jacqueline Woolley.