Pretending as imaginative rehearsal for cultural conformity

Journal of Cognition and Culture 5 (1-2):191-213 (2005)
Pretend play and pretense develop in distinct phases of childhood as ontogenetically adaptive responses to pressures specific to those phases, and may have evolved in different periods of human ancestry. These are pressures to assimilate cultural artifacts, norms, roles, and behavioral scripts. The playful and creative elements in both forms of pretending are dictated by the variable, open-ended, and evolving nature and function of the cultural tasks they handle. The resulting creativity of the adult intellect is likely to be a distant and indirect by-product of temporary and specific ontogenetic responses to temporary and specific ontogenetic challenges, particularly cultural ones
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