The 8 Types Of Imagination

It has been said that imagination is more important than knowledge, and for any experienced classroom teacher it is easy to see daily evidence of this.

In the June issue of Edudemic Magazine for iPad, we’re going to take a look at the role of imagination (and curiosity) in the learning process, and strategies for leveraging each. In doing research, I happened across an article published over at the international news blog IntoEastAfrica on the different types of imagination, and it occurred to me that though I often think of intelligence and understanding as fluid and diverse, I hadn’t thought of imagination that way.

Our Imaginations

In the blog post, Dr. Murray Hunter of the University of Malaysia Perlis has listed the 8 types of imagination we use on a daily basis, with explanations for each. Dr. Hunter defines imagination as “the ability to form mental images, phonological passages, analogies, or narratives of something that is not perceived through our senses.

“Imagination is a manifestation of our memory and enables us to scrutinize our past and construct hypothetical future scenarios that do not yet, but could exist. Imagination also gives us the ability to see things from other points of view and empathize with others.”

8 Types of Imagination

1. “Effectuative Imagination combines information together to synergize new concepts and ideas.”

2. “Intellectual (or Constructive) Imagination is utilized when considering and developing hypotheses from different pieces of information or pondering over various issues of meaning say in the areas of philosophy, management, or politics, etc.”

3. “Imaginative Fantasy Imagination creates and develops stories, pictures, poems, stage-plays, and the building of the esoteric, etc.”

4. “Empathy Imagination helps a person know emotionally what others are experiencing from their frame and reference.”

5. “Strategic Imagination is concerned about vision of ‘what could be’, the ability to recognize and evaluate opportunities by turning them into mental scenarios…”

6. “Emotional Imagination is concerned with manifesting emotional dispositions and extending them into emotional scenarios.”

7. “Dreams are an unconscious form of imagination made up of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur during certain stages of sleep.”

8. “Memory Reconstruction is the process of retrieving our memory of people, objects, and events.”


1 Comment

  1. DrBruceJ

    May 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Hello Terry:
    I agree that imagination is necessary as a component of visualizing new ideas and developing new goals. However, who says that it is more important than knowledge? How could that be possible? Doesn’t imagination require knowledge as it provides a foundation to build upon? To me it would seem that imagination and knowledge have a relationship that is often described as left-brain functioning and right-brain functioning. It’s the combination of creativity and logic that produces effective results. Would you agree?  
    Dr. J