Unicorns, elves and dolphins: Marjorie Taylor on imaginary friends

Professor emeritus of psychology Marjorie Taylor
Professor emeritus of psychology Marjorie Taylor

They can fit in your hand or be as big as a horse, but whatever size a child’s imaginary playmate might be, it’s nothing to worry about, UO psychology professor emeritus Marjorie Taylor says in a feature article in the Toronto-based The Globe and Mail.

Calling Taylor “the world’s foremost expert on imaginary friends,” the article quotes her extensively on the current state of research on the topic. Taylor describes how researchers and experts once thought imaginary friends were a sign of problems with a child. But now, thanks in large part to her research, that view has completely reversed.

“They thought these children were weird,” Taylor tells The Globe and Mail. “Maybe smart, but socially troubled or shy or whatever. And all that is completely wrong.”

Taylor leads the Imagination Research Lab in the UO’s Department of Psychology and is a leading researcher in the area of children and imagination. Her work has shown that having imaginary friends is often associated with higher levels of creativity and other positive traits.

For the full story, see “Hello, my (imaginary) friend” in The Globe and Mail.