Why kids can learn more from tales of fantasy than realism


This is a wonderful post about the importance of fantasy in writing and reading.

M.C. Tuggle, Writer

Fantasy learning

Deena Weisberg is a senior fellow in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her specialty is “imaginative cognition,” which studies how imagination boosts one’s ability to learn. Her research demonstrates that children absorb new material taught in the context of a fanciful scenario better than they do when it’s presented in more realistic terms. In a recent edition of Aeon, she challenges herself with a question she’s grappled with before: Why do fantastical stories stimulate learning?

What can be going on? Perhaps children are more engaged and attentive when they see events that challenge their understanding of how reality works. After all, the events in these fantastical stories aren’t things that children can see every day. So they might pay more attention, leading them to learn more.

A different, and richer, possibility is that there’s something about fantastical contexts that is particularly helpful for learning. From this perspective, fantastical fiction…

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11 thoughts on “Why kids can learn more from tales of fantasy than realism

  1. This post is spot on! It’s important because it pinpoints a very important part of learning. Imagination sparks interest and excitement, and that is the gigantic first step.


  2. It is funny, last week in a conversation, I found out that a friend has never read or watched a fantasy movie, she says she is immediately turned off if there is any “stink of magic” at all… to the point of not having watched Back to the Future this is. I just couldn’t believe it… and I am now trying to analyse how does this affect her life and personality if any or why some people have that reaction, so this post was really interesting to read 😉


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