The familiar appeal of imaginary worlds

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e298 (2022)
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Abstract

Imaginary worlds may satisfy our need to explore, but it's an open question what we are searching for. Research on imagination suggests that if we are searching for something extraordinary – something that violates our intuitions about real-world causality – then we seek it in small doses and in contexts that ultimately confirm our intuitions. Imaginary worlds allow for true novelty, but we may actually prefer ideas that are novel on their surface but familiar at their core.

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