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Definition

Gray, P. (2009) Play as a foundation for hunter-gatherer social existence (Journal Article)

Abstract:
Author/s:
Date:
January 2009
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
1
Page/s:
476–522
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Games with rules
  • Humour
  • Literature review
  • Physical play
  • Playfulness
  • Pretend play
  • Pro-social behaviour
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Kerkhof, L. et al. (2013) Cellular activation in limbic brain systems during social play behaviour in rats (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Positive social interactions during the juvenile and adolescent phases of life are essential for proper social and cognitive development in mammals, including humans. During this developmental period, there is a marked increase in peer–peer interactions, signified by the abundance of social play behaviour. Despite its importance for behavioural development, our knowledge of the neural underpinnings of social play behaviour is limited. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to map the neural circuits involved in social play behaviour in rats. This was achieved by examining cellular activity after social play using the immediate early gene c-Fos as a marker. After a session of social play behaviour, pronounced increases in c-Fos expression were observed in the medial prefrontal cortex, medial and ventral orbitofrontal cortex, dorsal striatum, nucleus accumbens core and shell, lateral amygdala, several thalamic nuclei, dorsal raphe and the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus. Importantly, the cellular activity patterns after social play were topographically organized in this network, as indicated by play-specific correlations in c-Fos activity between regions with known direct connections. These correlations suggest involvement in social play behaviour of the projections from the medial prefrontal cortex to the striatum, and of amygdala and monoaminergic inputs to frontal cortex and striatum. The analyses presented here outline a topographically organized neural network implicated in processes such as reward, motivation and cognitive control over behaviour, which mediates social play behaviour in rats.

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
219
Page/s:
1181-1211
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Pro-social behaviour
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Lillard, A. et al. (2013) The impact of pretend play on children's development: A review of the evidence (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Pretend play has been claimed to be crucial to children's healthy development. Here we examine evidence for this position versus 2 alternatives: Pretend play is 1 of many routes to positive developments (equifinality), and pretend play is an epiphenomenon of other factors that drive development. Evidence from several domains is considered. For language, narrative, and emotion regulation, the research conducted to date is consistent with all 3 positions but insufficient to draw conclusions. For executive function and social skills, existing research leans against the crucial causal position but is insufficient to differentiate the other 2. For reasoning, equifinality is definitely supported, ruling out a crucially causal position but still leaving open the possibility that pretend play is epiphenomenal. For problem solving, there is no compelling evidence that pretend play helps or is even a correlate. For creativity, intelligence, conservation, and theory of mind, inconsistent correlational results from sound studies and nonreplication with masked experimenters are problematic for a causal position, and some good studies favor an epiphenomenon position in which child, adult, and environment characteristics that go along with play are the true causal agents. We end by considering epiphenomenalism more deeply and discussing implications for preschool settings and further research in this domain. Our take-away message is that existing evidence does not support strong causal claims about the unique importance of pretend play for development and that much more and better research is essential for clarifying its possible role. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
139
Page/s:
1-34
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Language
  • Pretend play
  • Pro-social behaviour
  • Problem-solving
  • Self-regulation
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Lillemyr, O. et al. (2010) Indigenous and non‐Indigenous primary school students’ attitudes on play, humour, learning and self‐concept: a comparative perspective (Journal Article)

Panksepp, J. (2007) Can PLAY diminish ADHD and facilitate the construction of the social brain? (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Abstract
The diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) has been increasing at an alarming rate, paralleled by the prescription of highly effective psychostimulants whose developmental effects on growing brains remain inadequately characterized. One reason for the increasing incidence of ADHD may be the diminishing availability of opportunities for pre-school children to engage in natural self-generated social play. Pre-clinical work indicates that play can facilitate behavioral inhibition in growing animals, while psychostimulants reduce playfulness. The idea that intensive social play interventions, throughout early childhood, may alleviate ADHD symptoms remains to be evaluated. As an alternative to the use of play-reducing psychostimulants, society could establish play “sanctuaries” for at-risk children in order to facilitate frontal lobe maturation and the healthy development of pro-social minds.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2007
Volume:
16
Page/s:
57
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Literature review
  • Mental health
  • Outdoor play
  • Physical play
  • Pro-social behaviour
  • Self-regulation
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Tunçgenç, B. et al. (2016) Interpersonal movement synchrony facilitates pro-social behavior in children's peer-play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The emergence of pro-social behaviors and social interaction skills is a major focus of research on children's development. Here, we consider one important feature of human social interactions, interpersonal movement synchrony, and explore its effects on pro-sociality among young children. Coordinated movements are a crucial part of mother–infant interactions, with important social effects extending well into childhood. Musical interactions are also known to facilitate bonding between infants and caretakers and pro-sociality among peers. We specifically examine the pro-social effects of interpersonal movement synchrony in a naturalistic peer-play context among 4- to 6-year-old children. We assessed the amount of helping behavior between pairs of children following an activity that they performed synchronously or non-synchronously. Children who engaged in synchronous play, as compared with non-synchronous play, showed significantly more subsequent spontaneous helping behavior. Further, more mutual smiling and eye contact were observed in the synchronous condition and amounts of mutual smiling and eye contact during the movement task correlated with amount of helping behavior observed. Neither measure mediated the condition-wise effects on helping, however. These results are discussed in terms of their contribution to existing literature and their broader implications for the development of pro-sociality and coordinated movements in early childhood.

Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
1-9
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Games with rules
  • Peers play
  • Pro-social behaviour
  • Social cognition
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: