Social Play in Primates provides comprehensive discussions on the social aspect of play in the behavior of primates. It also presents various approaches in understanding the complex behavioral phenomenon of play.
Composed of 11 chapters, the book starts by discussing the historical background of play. It also traces the development of the interest in the study of play from the writings of Aristotle, through educational reformers of the 17th and 18th centuries, to the psychologists of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The book then presents important data on the effects of gonadectomy on social play in group-living rhesus monkeys. It also presents a comparative study about the play behavior of three of the four great ape species. Furthermore, it offers a view of the function of play in primate society. Finally, the book examines play in young humans by citing some significant information on the nature of peer- vs. adult-oriented early social experience.
The book concludes by presenting both the theoretical and methodological aspects on the study of play.