An Analogical Model of Pretense

Irina Rabkina*, Kenneth D. Forbus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We argue that pretense can be viewed as analogical projection: a structural comparison between the pretend scenario and its real-world counterpart that leads to inferences about the pretend scenario. For example, in pretending to make a phone call with a banana, a number pad might be projected on the banana's surface. We model two empirical studies of early childhood pretense, and show how successful pretense requires making and accepting such inferences, while failed pretense can be traced to failure of such projection. Other models of pretense, both theoretical and computational, and their relationships to our model, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13112
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Analogy
  • Cognitive modeling
  • Pretend play
  • Pretense

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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