I Believe I Can Fly: Re-Examining Individual Differences in Imaginative Involvement

Russell J. Webster, Donald A. Saucier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Many humans seemingly crave imaginative involvement, especially fantasy, spending billions of dollars on its industry (e.g., Harry Potter). However, we argue that individuals subjectively experience imaginative involvement at different levels of cognitive (imagery vividness) and emotional (engagement) intensity. Two studies examined the effects of fantasy proneness and absorption on imagery vividness and engagement after completing various flying or control visualization tasks. After having first confirmed the structure of fantasy proneness as comprising three dimensions—fantasy intensity, childhood make-believe, and extrasensory experiences—our studies showed that across visualization tasks, fantasy intensity best predicted imagery vividness, while absorption best predicted engagement. Further, increased positive mood fully mediated the relationship between absorption and engagement. Ultimately, not everyone experiences imaginative involvement the same: certain individuals report greater engagement and a more emotionally enriching experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-445
Number of pages21
JournalImagination, Cognition and Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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