Research Output

The limits of pretending.

  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 fantastic
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.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    19 October 2015

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Taylor & Francis

  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    006.3 Artificial intelligence


Turner, P., Hetherington, R., Turner, S., & Kosek, M. (2015). The limits of pretending. Digital Creativity, 26, (304-317). doi:10.1080/14626268.2015.1091778. ISSN 1462-6268



This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Digital Creativity 19 October 2015, available online:


Pretending; animation; embodiment; schemata;

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