The Limits of Pretending

Turner, P., Hetherington, R., Turner, S., Kosek, M. (2015). The Limits of Pretending. Digital Creativity, , (), .



We propose that pretending is a cognitive faculty which enables us to create and immerse ourselves in possible worlds. These worlds range from the veridical to the fan- tastic and are frequently realised as stories varying from the fictional to the scientific. This same ability enables us to become immersed and engaged in such stories (which we may have created) too. Whether we are shooting “aliens” or are engaged in a passionate romance, these experiences are facilitated by our ability to pretend. While it might seem that we can imagine or make-believe anything, in practice there are limits to what we can pretend. We draw upon both theoretical perspectives and from the work practice of animators. By identifying these limits, we are, of course, also defining the nature of pretending.
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Richard Hetherington
+44 131 455 2455
Phil Turner
+44 131 455 2721

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