So the title of this article says “Children with imaginary companions are quicker to develop language skills,” which is an interesting finding. However, the article actually says (emphasis added):
Anna Roby, who is studying for her Master of Science degree in Applied Psychology, is carrying out the research, which aims to test whether having an imaginary friend can help children’s learning, development and creativity.
The theory is that by chatting to an imaginary companion a child becomes more practised at using language and constructing conversation, as he or she is carrying out both sides of the interaction. Children aged 4 – 11 both with and without imaginary friends are therefore being studied, to compare their ability to communicate meaning and the complexity of their grammar.
The research hasn’t been done yet! Maybe if the headline writer had had an imaginary friend his or her writing would be a little more informative.
By the way, I had pretend imaginary friends - I didn’t think they were real, but I wanted other people to think I thought they were real. Not quite sure what that says about me, though … can’t be good.