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Five-year-olds invent imaginary friends, teenagers visualize what an amorous crush would be like, and adults plan for job achievements, buying a house or traveling the world. Imagination is a trait that we all possess and use in our daily lives. But if we try to think of situations that are too far from our reality in time or space—perhaps the world in 2500 or what it would be like to live on the moon or Mars—we often have a hard time visualizing those scenarios.

For decades, neuroscientists and psychologists have tried to understand what exactly goes on in the brain when we turn our imaginations loose and what limits the ability of many of us to envision distant scenarios. In a new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology last month, researchers report that creative professionals seem to be better than others at surmounting the mental barriers to accessing distal imagination, and their ability may be explained, in part, by their tapping into a brain network that only they can access.

And dreaming is still free. To read more, click here.

Category: Science