Imagination links with schizotypal beliefs, not with creativity or learning

Sophie von Stumm*, Hannah Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Imagination refers to creating mental representations of concepts, ideas, and sensations that are not contemporaneously perceived by the senses. Although it is key to human individuality, research on imagination is scarce. To address this gap, we developed here a new psychometric test to assess individual differences in imagination and explored the role of imagination for learning, creativity, and schizotypal beliefs. In a laboratory-based (N = 180) and an online study (N = 128), we found that imagination is only weakly associated with learning achievement and creativity, accounting for 2–8% of the variance. By contrast, imagination accounted for 22.5% of the variance in schizotypal beliefs, suggesting overall that imagination may be more indicative of cognitive eccentricities rather than benefit the accumulation of knowledge or production of novel and useful ideas.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalBritish journal of psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The British Psychological Society. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • creativity
  • imagination
  • Imaginative Behaviour Engagement Scale
  • learning
  • schizotypal beliefs

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