Julian Jaynes Society Discussion Forum: Exploring Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind Theory since 1997
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Imaginary Friends
http://www.julianjaynes.org/jjsforum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=12
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Author:  Soupdragon [ Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Imaginary Friends

I have witnessed both of my nieces deep in conversation with 'stuff' in front of them that was invisible to me. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I didn't like to interrupt.

Perhaps it would be dangerous to do so, in fact, as this might add weight to the social stigma attached to such behaviour. A stigma that perhaps contributes to schizophrenia if the behaviour is actually natural and of positive developmental value.

I heard a radio trailer only the other day for a horror film where a child's imaginary friends turn dangerous!

Author:  scarmig [ Tue Mar 01, 2005 9:21 am ]
Post subject:  Imaginary Friends

I have a 2 year old daughter who very early began talking herself through her plans or what was going on around her. She would be whispering step by step instructions to herself for all aspects of her day. I've watched her correct her behavior through verbal communication to herself. I've seen her hit another child, only to look down and say, "I'm not supposed to hit."

To me it is all evidence of the two brains interacting. Jaynes work, which I read just before she was born, has greatly helped me understand her thought processes, and through understanding, to nurture them further.

Fun stuff!

Author:  Fisherman [ Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Imaginary Friends

I have an infant daughter and I would like to find more information concerning Jaynes thoughts on imaginary friends and how they relate to his theory. Both I and my wife had imaginary friends, so I would expect that my daughter might as well. I intend to encourage her in this matter and I look forward to learning more about the subject. My mother was very accomodating to my "friend" and even returned to our house because we had forgot to let him in the car with us. I opened the car door, closed it, and said "ok, we can go now". Instead of discouraging my behavior or saying "he doesn't exist, we are not going back to get him", she went along for my sake. If anyone has any thoughts or information on this I would appreciate any conversation.

Thank you,

fisherman

Author:  stickybeak [ Thu Nov 17, 2005 5:42 am ]
Post subject:  Imaginary Friends

My son was maybe three when one night he couldn't sleep, I went in to calm him down, but he forthrightly assured me that he couldn't go to sleep because his brains were talking - implying a listener! He was experienceing a tripartite mind complex.

There is a brilliant psychologist in Sydney called Russell Meares whose new book "The Metaphor of Play" has just come out. It is very good on the subject, it is probably available on Amazon. His regualr publisher is Routlege I think, thugh I'm not sure who has published this work.

Check it out.

Author:  Obdurately Conscious [ Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Imaginary Friends

Fisherman wrote:
I have an infant daughter and I would like to find more information concerning Jaynes thoughts on imaginary friends and how they relate to his theory. Both I and my wife had imaginary friends, so I would expect that my daughter might as well. I intend to encourage her in this matter and I look forward to learning more about the subject. My mother was very accomodating to my "friend" and even returned to our house because we had forgot to let him in the car with us. I opened the car door, closed it, and said "ok, we can go now". Instead of discouraging my behavior or saying "he doesn't exist, we are not going back to get him", she went along for my sake. If anyone has any thoughts or information on this I would appreciate any conversation.

Thank you,

fisherman
Neither I nor my wife had imaginary friends, so I don't know what it means to have had one. I find it curious that you can remember having the imaginary friend, and refer to it as such, instead of referring to it as something that was very real at the time. What is the imaginary friend experience? Is it a real person that you can envision? Or is it just responsibilities set on yourself to interact with a person in the correct manner(i.e. going back for him and letting him in the car instead of leaving him)?

Author:  Fisherman [ Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

OC,

I don't actually remember the imaginary friend, I only know of it through conversations with my parents. Once, I made my mother turn around and go back home (we were 2 blocks from home) because we had left Bombo (his name, apparently). We pulled up to our apartment, opened the door, he got in, and we were on our way. Maybe I was just learning to manipulate my parents, I don't know, but from what my parents tell me, Bombo was a very real presence to me at the time.

My daughter is almost two now and I have noticed some interesting things happening with her. For instance, she loves to play with my wedding ring but I always tell her "no" when she attempts to put it in her mouth. One time she was playing with it a few feet from me and she raised the ring to her mouth, paused, said "no" to herself and then continued playing with the ring. All this without looking at me at all. that reminded me of something that Jaynes discussed about parental or authority figure influence becoming internalized as the child grows. She was vocalizing the same instructions I had given her previously, but at some point, maybe she would just think to herself, "no" instead of saying it out loud.

Author:  Landgrant Empiricist [ Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Imaginary Friends

I do remember playing with imaginary playmates and when an adult would come into the room and ask with whom I was speaking I would answer "just pretending!"

I remember them as just that, pretend. I remember instances of using them to replay a social interaction that had occured with a sibling, with different behavior choices on my part. If the outcome (or intermediate outcome) was still not to my liking, I could stop the action and begin again. Likewise, I would act out frustration against restrictions put in place by my parents.

There were no children my age available in our immediate NY neighborhood, but on weekends I had playmates at my grandparents' in NJ. So, I also used my imaginary playmates to play act the way I would with actual children.

However, at no time would I classify any of the imagination of the playmates' "behavior" as hallucination. This is just a great example of creative play and imagination being used for social learning.

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