Structure and Functions of Fantasy

By Eric Klinger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Implications of Play for a Theory of Fantasy

The subject of free fantasy has been conspicuously neglected by scientific psychologists during the last forty years. So, to some extent, has play. Play is a behavioral phenomenon, however, easier to observe and record, and easier to relate to the main body of behavior theory and neobehaviorism. Accordingly, while well-focused, comprehensive, rigorous observational studies of play are rare, some direct observational studies exist, and there is much indirect observation and theory that have been brought to bear on the phenomenon. Whereas the available empirical studies of fantasy have largely been concerned with correlational data and individual differences, empirical studies of play, while often methodologically crude, have attempted in larger proportion to examine the structure of play and its antecedent-consequent relationships.

The validity of generalizing from evidence on play to a theory of fantasy depends on the proposition that the two psychological processes are highly related, and that for at least some limited purposes, the one may stand as an analogue for the other. This is the first proposition that must be examined, following the establishment of some definitions. Then it will be possible to review further some of the attributes of play and assess their implications for theories of fantasy.


DEFINITIONS OF PLAY

Play

Nearly everyone feels he understands what is meant by "play," and investigators are even able substantially to agree in identifying particular in

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*
An earlier version of this chapter has appeared in article form ( Klinger, 1969). The copyright ( 1969) is held by the American Psychological Association, Inc. Reproduced by permission.

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