Taking Notes: "The Real Reason Children Love Fantasy" (2005) by Alison Gopnik




paragraph 3:
...... There is no evidence that fantasy is therapeutic or that children use fantastic literature to "work out their problems" or as "an escape." Children's lives can be tough, certainly, but relatively speaking they are considerably less tough, more protected, more interesting, even, than adult lives. Happy, healthy children are, if anything, more likely to be immersed in a world of fantastic daydreams, public or private, than unhappy or troubled children.
paragraph 5:
In fact, cognitive science suggests that children may love fantasy not because they can't appreciate the truth or because their lives are difficult, but for precisely the opposite reason. Children may have such an affinity for the imaginary just because they are so single-mindedly devoted to finding the truth, and because their lives are protected in order to allow them to do so.
paragraph 7:
...... Two decades of research have shown that children construct and revise an everyday physics and biology and, above all, an everyday psychology. These everyday theories are much like the formal, explicit theories of science. Theorizing lets children understand the world and other people more accurately.
paragraph 8:
...... But in fact, theorizing and fantasizing have a lot in common. A theory, in science or in everyday life, doesn't just describe one particular way the world happens to be at the moment. Instead, having a theory tells you about the ways the world could have been in the past or might be in the future. What's more, a theory can tell you that some of those ways the world can be are more likely than others. A theory lays out a map of possible worlds and tells you how probable each possibility is. And a theory provides a kind of logic for getting to conclusions from premises—if the theory is correct, and if you accept certain premises, then certain conclusions and not others will follow. ......
paragraph 9:
This is why theories are so profoundly powerful and adaptive. A theory not only explains the world we see, it lets us imagine other worlds, and, even more significantly, lets us act to create those worlds. ...... The uniquely human evolutionary gift is to combine imagination and logic to articulate possible worlds and then make them real.
paragraph 11:
The link between the scientific and the fantastic also explains why children's fantasy demands the strictest logic, consistency, and attention to detail. A fantasy without that logic is just a mess. The effectiveness of the great children's books comes from the combination of wildly imaginative premises and strictly consistent and logical conclusions from those premises. ......

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