ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (7): 1232-1237.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.01232

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The developmental characteristics and mechanism of children’s distinction between fantasy and reality

CHEN Xiaoyan, WANG Yifang(), ZHAO Jiayin, MENG Qi   

  1. Department of Psychology, Learning and Cognitive Key Laboratory, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100037, China
  • Received:2018-10-10 Online:2019-07-15 Published:2019-05-22
  • Contact: WANG Yifang


Fantasy is a term that refers to imaginary perceptions directed toward the future and associated with conscious or unconscious personal desires. It is not necessarily based on objective laws. Reality refers to something of substance or a phenomenon that exists in daily life or that is consistent with the rules of life. Making an accurate distinction between fantasy and reality is conducive to protecting children’s imagination and ensuring their personal safety. Many studies have reported that children’s ability to distinguish fantasy from reality increases with age, and is influenced by external factors (emotions, character and themes of experimental materials) and internal factors (individual emotional perception intensity and experience). Language, metacognition, theory of mind and the nervous system may be components of the mechanism by which children distinguish fantasy from reality. Future studies need to explore the possible moderating effects of various mechanisms on children’s ability to distinguish fantasy from reality at given ages, as well as the neural mechanism associated with children’s confusion between fantasy and reality. The purpose of this study is to further clarify effective measures by which to protect children’s imagination and ensure their personal safety.

Key words: fantasy, reality, children

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