Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


  • Hannah Rachel ScottEmail author
  • Sophie von Stumm
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_2279-1



Imagination refers to creating mental representations of concepts, ideas, and sensations in the mind that are not contemporaneously perceived by the senses. Imagination ranges from the re-creation of images or sensory perceptions in the mind that were previously seen or experienced in reality (i.e., reproductive imagination) to crafting images anew independent of prior actual sensory input (i.e., productive imagination).


Imagination is both a cognitive process and a trait dimension of individual differences. With regards to the cognitive process, the functions of imagination range from filling the gaps in our perception of the world around us to taking other people’s perspective to forecasting future outcomes for ourselves as well as others. When viewing imagination as a trait dimension of individual differences, all the cognitive process functions are considered, although the focus is on...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGoldsmiths, University of LondonLondonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Charlie Reeve
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North Carolina-CharlotteCharlotteUSA