The Role of Play in Human Development

Hardcover | August 26, 2009

byAnthony D. Pellegrini

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While the subject of play may seem trivial for behavioral science, E.O. Wilson noted that understanding the significance of play is an important challenge facing scholars in these fields. Play is observed among juveniles across a number of animal species and is especially prevalent in youngmammals, yet it is difficult to define or to attribute functional significance to it. In this book, Pellegrini argues that play is an excellent example of the ways in which biology and culture influence each other, especially during childhood. Specifically, the innovative possibilities associatedwith different forms of play behavior during the juvenile period can influence individuals' skill acquisition, and possibly influence the development of the species. In order to understand play in this broad sense, it is necessary to understand its phylogenetic development (across monkeys, greatapes, and humans), its place within human development, and its function(s) and atecedents. Such an understanding of the role of play in childhood has implications for a deeper understanding of the role of development in the human experience. This book is unique among its competitors in that it takes an explicitly theoretical orientation as it is applied to human play, in an evolutionary context. This will be the only volume to provide a coherent theoretical framework addressing the role of play in development. In his concluding chapter,Pellegrini will synthesize his arguments and theory, and speculate about directions for future research in the area. Because of these two aspects, this book has the potential to be a highly influential book for scholars in developmental psychology, educational psychology, evolutionary biology, andplay theorists in anthropology.

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While the subject of play may seem trivial for behavioral science, E.O. Wilson noted that understanding the significance of play is an important challenge facing scholars in these fields. Play is observed among juveniles across a number of animal species and is especially prevalent in youngmammals, yet it is difficult to define or to a...

Anthony Pellegrini is Professor of Psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota.

other books by Anthony D. Pellegrini

Observing Children in Their Natural Worlds: A Methodological Primer
Observing Children in Their Natural Worlds: A Methodolo...

Kobo ebook|May 1 2004

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 6.42 × 9.29 × 1.18 inPublished:August 26, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195367324

ISBN - 13:9780195367324

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Table of Contents

1. Getting Here From There: An Introduction to My Study of Play2. Play: What is it?3. Theories of Play4. Play and Behavioral Plasticity5. Play in Culture6. Functions of Play7. Social Play8. Children's Use of Objects in Exploration, Play, and as Tools9. Locomotor Play10. Pretend Play11. The Role of Games12. The Role of Play in Education13. Conclusion: Taking a Lesson from Sir Thomas Gersham