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    Structural Relationships Among Mental Boundaries, Childhood Imaginary Companions, Creative Experiences, and Entity Encounters

    Drinkwater, K ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4015-0578, Dagnall, N ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0657-7604, Houran, J, Denovan, A and O’Keeffe, C (2022) Structural Relationships Among Mental Boundaries, Childhood Imaginary Companions, Creative Experiences, and Entity Encounters. Psychological Reports. ISSN 0033-2941

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    Abstract

    This study investigated relationships between thin mental boundary functioning, creativity, imaginary companions (ICs), and anomalous ‘(entity) encounter experiences.’ A convenience sample of 389 respondents completed the Revised Transliminality Scale, Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences, Creative Experiences Questionnaire, Survey of Strange Events, and a measure of Childhood Imaginary Companions. Competing testing with path analysis found that the best-fitting model was consistent with the causal chain of ‘Thin Boundaries (transliminality and schizotypy) → Creative Experiences → ICs → (Entity) Encounter Experiences.’ These results suggest that deep-types of ICs (i.e., showing apparent independent agency) are perhaps most accurately characterized as syncretic cognitions versus hallucination-like experiences. The authors examine these findings relative to study limitations, as well as discussing the need for future research that approaches ICs as a special mental state that can facilitate allied altered-anomalous experiences. In this context, this study furthered understanding of relationships between conscious states related to mental boundaries, childhood imaginary companions, creative experiences, and entity encounters.

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