Mapping the Imaginative Mind: Charting New Paths Forward

Jessica R. Andrews-Hanna, Matthew D. Grilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The fields of psychology and neuroscience are in the midst of an explosion of research aimed at illuminating the human imagination—the ability to form thoughts and mental images that stretch beyond what is currently available to the senses. Imaginative thought is proving to be remarkably diverse, capturing the capacity to recall past experiences, consider what lies ahead, and understand other people’s minds, in addition to other forms of creative and spontaneous thinking. In the first part of this article, we introduce an integrative framework that attempts to explain how components of a core brain network facilitate interacting features of imagination that we refer to as the mind’s eye and mind’s mind. We then highlight three emerging research directions that could inform our understanding of how imagination arises and unfolds in everyday life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-89
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • autobiographical
  • concepts
  • default network
  • imagination
  • mind wandering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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