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Am I present in imaginary worlds? Intentions, actions, and flow in mediated experiences and fiction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 November 2022

Federico Pianzola
Department of Human Sciences for Education “R. Massa,” University of Milan Bicocca, Milan 20126, Department of Global Korean Studies, School of Media, Arts and Science, Sogang University, Seoul 04107, South Korea
Giuseppe Riva
Humane Technology Lab., Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan 20123, Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan 20149, Italy
Karin Kukkonen
Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Language, University of Oslo, Oslo 0371,
Fabrizia Mantovani
Department of Human Sciences for Education “R. Massa,” University of Milan Bicocca, Milan 20126,


We support the idea of applying cultural evolution theory to the study of storytelling, and fiction in particular. However, we suggest that a more plausible link between real and imaginary worlds is the feeling of “presence” we can experience in both of them: we feel present when we are able to correctly and intuitively enact our embodied predictions.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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