Imagination and Thinking: A Psychological Analysis

Imagination and Thinking: A Psychological Analysis

Imagination and Thinking: A Psychological Analysis

Imagination and Thinking: A Psychological Analysis

Excerpt

This book is addressed to the reader--whether scientist, artist or layman--who is interested in the psychology of original and creative thinking. My endeavour has been to grapple constructively with the subject matter of thinking, whether it takes the form of reasoning or fantasy; and it has seemed fruitful to survey a broad range of psychological processes, both normal and abnormal. Particular attention has been given to those interactions of fantasy and reality-adjusted thinking which result in works of art or in fresh advances in science.

A major aim has been to describe the interesting diversity of forms which human thinking can take. Sir Francis Galton's pioneer investigations in the last century first uncovered wide variations of mental imagery and the rich variety of subjective experiences enjoyed by some people, although unknown to others; and it has seemed to me useful to attempt some further investigation in this field. A second major aim has been to examine certain mental processes (of which dreaming is the most obvious example) which may assist the normal person's appreciation of psychotic thinking and lead to more sympathetic understanding of 'the insane'--in the belief that a closer examination of the 'normal' may sometimes help to illuminate the 'abnormal'. Psychosis and its psychology have been approached not only through observation of patients, but also by investigation of the falling asleep, or hypnagogic, state and by observations made of volunteers who have taken mescaline or some other of the substances that can be used experimentally to produce temporary psychotic-like conditions. It is my firm belief that the main hope of achieving scientific understanding of psychotic illness, and a greater measure of sympathy with such patients' problems of adjustment, rests on the readiness of psychologists as research scientists, and of psychiatrists as medical specialists, to co-operate closely in joint investigations.

As has often been stressed in recent years, the theory of thinking is of central importance to scientific psychology. Since . . .

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