Leave everything to the imagination: Cognitive functioning of individuals high in dissociative absorption and imaginative involvement Academic Article uri icon


  • Dissociative “absorption and imaginative involvement” is a tendency to become immersed in a stimulus while neglecting one’s surroundings, engage in vivid imagination, confuse fantasy with reality, and act automatically. We aimed to identify the specific impairments and benefits in cognitive functioning which may characterize dissociative absorption. We hypothesized that absorbers will demonstrate impaired inhibition and working memory alongside superior imagination abilities. Healthy young Israeli soldiers ( N  = 160) performed a battery of cognitive tasks. As hypothesized, absorbers were substantially faster in a mental rotation task, and demonstrated impaired accuracy in cognitive tasks demanding high capacity of working memory, inhibition and sustained attention, stemming mostly from commission, rather than omission, errors. Our findings objectively validate the self-reported heightened imaginative abilities characterizing dissociative absorption.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018