TOK Badge: Imagination March 3, 2017

A Child’s World

To what extent does imagination depend on experience?

The Experiment

Ask two children to draw these three words:

  • Jabberwocky
  • Dragon
  • Estiktofil

See how they use their imagination and experience to interpret the words and create a drawing.


First child
Second Child


First Child
Second Child


First Child
Second Child


  • In the drawings, specifically with the made-up word “Esiktofil”, we could see how the kids used their experience and memory of the word “fill” to create an object that either was being filled or was full.
  • With the word, Jabberwocky (creature from the book Through the Looking Glass), both kids did not know what this word meant and therefore they used their experience and imagination to create a drawing. The word “jab” influenced the drawings.

Connection to Memory

  • Imagination is also influenced by the memory of experiences.
  • A person builds their imagination off of their memories of specific events.
  • As a person grows up, they get more memories and therefore this influences how and to what extent they use their imagination.

February 28, 2017: Today was my first day working with the WOK Imagination group. Last class, they came up with lots of ideas and knowledge questions which we could base our presentation on. Today, we decided on a final idea, we are going to ask elementary school children to draw pictures based on three words: dragon, jabberwocky, and a made up word Esiktofil. What we are testing is to see how children base their drawings on their experience and to what extent do they use their imagination when drawing the made up word. I am excited to see what pictures they draw when given these words and how we can interpret the drawings. Also, we are planning to ask the kids follow-up questions after they have finished drawings about why they drew what they drew and to give us specifics about their drawing.

March 2, 2017 What I learned: After our experiment and gathering the results I learned that imagination does depend on experience and everyone has different experiences which means that everyone will use their imagination differently. For example, with the word "dragon", both kids knew what that word meant but drew it differently because of their different experiences with that specific word. This could be the stories they have read or the movies they have seen. Furthermore, with the made-up word "Esiktofil", the kids used their knowledge and experience of the word "fill" to create an object they thought would reflect this word. This shows that they base their imagination off of their experiences.

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. -Albert Einstein

Extended Reading:

Is Imagination Just Another Form of Remembering?

This article discusses the question above which is similar to our essential question. The article states that "Past research has identified the hippocampus as a critical area involved in constructing novel potential scenarios based on past experiences." It was interesting to learn in the article that some people with hippocampal damage have deficits in imagining future scenarios. They experimented and discovered that imagination does depended on experiences, and that experiences can heighten imagination.

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