Jelleke Vanooteghem/Unsplash

Source: Jelleke Vanooteghem/Unsplash

You can’t help but smile when your 3-year-old tells you her pretend friend’s name is HaHa. “No kidding!” her mother laughs.

Because they have no brothers or sisters to play with, people often assume that only children like HaHa’s creator have more imaginary friends than children with siblings. This myth, started by psychologist G. Stanley Hall in 1896 and long-debunked, continues to be perpetuated. 

But recently, Japanese researchers Yusuke Moriguchi and Naoya Todo found it is more likely that children with imaginary companions are firstborns. My brother, for example, the firstborn in our family, had George. However, the firstborn finding, like the only child myth, seems questionable in light of responses to my recent query to learn more about imaginary friends.

Caroline from the Mountains, a 5-year-old’s imaginary…

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