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Transcult Psychiatry. 2003 Mar;40(1):62-90.

Are children with imaginary playmates and children said to remember previous lives cross-culturally comparable categories?

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  • 1First Nations Studies, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, Canada.


Some 15-66% of children in western countries talk about imaginary playmates; in India only 0.2% of children are said to remember a previous life. Both phenomena occur from the age of 30 months to 60-90 months. This article explores whether the two phenomena are cross-culturally comparable categories. The article describes a study of the psychological characteristics of a sample of 15 children said to remember a previous life in India, compared with a matched sample; and compares it with a sample of 15 children with imaginary playmates and a matched sample from Charlottesville, Virginia. No significant differences between the target group and the comparison group were found in either culture, suggesting that both phenomena are normal. One case of an American child with an imaginary playmate and one case of a child in India who is said to remember a previous life are described, using a video-recording of the child's dialogue.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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