How the brain responds to imagination is becoming more and more understood. Landmark research over the last few years is beginning to prove that the brain does not differentiate between fantasy and reality. Research from Psychologist Dr Mar of York University, Canada, has shown that areas of the brain that are associated with real-life experience also light up, under MRI observation, when reading fiction. As the brain responds to the readers imagination; visualising, smelling, and living in the story, the brain acts as if this is a real experience.
The article attached highlights more detail on the experiments run, and also other research that correlates with these findings. As more and more evidence is collected around the power of imagination and visualisation, hopefully more research will be commissioned that will look into how we can harness this power for our futures.
Here is the article