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Melancholic HabitsBurton's Anatomy & the Mind Sciences$
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Jennifer Radden

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199348190

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199348190.001.0001

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Imagination “queen of the mental powers”

Imagination “queen of the mental powers”

(p.49) Chapter 2 Imagination “queen of the mental powers”
Melancholic Habits

Jennifer Radden

Oxford University Press

The imagination is elevated to a position of centrality within Burtonian psychology, manifesting its influence on every aspect of affective life, thought, action, and bodily functioning. Because of the power of the imagination to effect changes in the person for better and for worse, practices around regulating the imagination are key. The Burtonian imagination is examined in light of our contemporary models and findings, including the so-called default attentional system, which many of the functions of the imagination described by Burton closely resemble. Anticipating the contemporary concept of simulation, the Burtonian Imagination is suited to cognitivist hypotheses and speculations. The plethora of studies, conjectures, and findings about the imagination (or simulation) today with antecedents in the Anatomy include hypotheses about the default system activity of “mind wandering,” that is anticipated by Burton as a dangerous habit inviting entrenched melancholy; they also include the science of expectation as it concerns healing (in placebo and nocebo effects, for example).

Keywords:   faculty psychology, imagination, default attentional system, simulation, expectation, placebo effect, mind wandering

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