Skip to Sub-menu

Physiological Substrates of Imagination

child and teacher engaged in imaginative play

Principal Investigator: Dr. Rachel Thibodeau Nielsen

About this Project

This research, funded by the University of Missouri Research Council, aims to explore the relationship between imagination in early childhood and children’s developing emotion regulation skills. Through imagination, children may encounter emotionally arousing situations they would not normally experience in their everyday lives (e.g., being chased by a dragon, pretending there is a fairy in the room). It is therefore possible that imagination may give children an opportunity to practice regulating through emotionally arousing situations, thus improving their emotion regulation skills over time. To support this idea, we are investigating whether or not imagination is in fact emotionally arousing by measuring preschoolers’ physiological responses to engaging in imagination.


Rachel Thibodeau Nielsen