The Nature of Play: Great Apes and Humans

The Nature of Play: Great Apes and Humans

Hardback

Edited by Anthony D. Pellegrini, Edited by Peter K. Smith

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  • Publisher: Guilford Publications
  • Format: Hardback | 308 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 226mm x 30mm | 558g
  • Publication date: 6 January 2005
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1593851170
  • ISBN 13: 9781593851170
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 1,812,815

Product description

What is the role of play in child development? What is the relation between an organism's biology and the environment in which it develops? And how can studies of nonhuman primates, especially great apes - whose play patterns are in many ways similar to ours - help us understand the development and evolution of play in human children? This uniquely integrative volume brings together leading experts in developmental psychology and animal behavior to provide a new perspective on the nature and functions of play. Innovative and thought-provoking, the book is filled with compelling findings from a range of human and animal settings. In an introductory chapter, distinguished ethologist Patrick Bateson describes how youthful exploration and games contribute to both individual development and group survival - not only in humans, but in other species as well. Parallel chapters then examine rough-and-tumble play, object play, and pretend or fantasy play in humans and great apes. Explored are the ways in which specific play behaviors generate skills and knowledge that are needed for successful functioning throughout life, as well as what they reveal about evolutionary processes. Topics covered include: *How play fighting among both animals and humans enhances social cohesion *Sex differences in play from infancy through adolescence *Ways in which play fosters peer and parent-child relationships *How preschoolers learn to use objects as tools *Why imaginative play is so much more common in human children than in apes While much of the knowledge on human play comes from industrialized Western societies, the book also features important chapters on hunter-gatherer and pastoral cultures. Throughout, an array of black-and-white photographs and other illustrations enliven this authoritative work. Comprehensive and up to date, this tightly edited volume belongs on the desks of researchers and students in developmental psychology, comparative psychology, animal behavior, and evolutionary psychology, and will also be of interest to anthropologists. It is a richly informative text for advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses.

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Author information

Anthony D. Pellegrini, PhD, is Professor of Psychological Foundations of Education in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His primary interest is in the development of play and dominance. He also has research interests in methodological issues in the general area of human development, with specific interest in direct observations. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Spencer Foundation, and the W. T. Grant Foundation. Dr. Pellegrini is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and has been awarded a Fellowship from the British Psychological Society. Peter K. Smith, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Head of the Unit for School and Family Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research interests are in social development, play, bullying in school, and evolutionary theory. Dr. Smith is coauthor of "Understanding Children's Development" and coeditor of "The Nature of School Bullying" and the "Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development." He has written widely on children's play, particularly on pretend play training and rough-and-tumble play. Dr. Smith is also a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Review quote

'The Nature of Play' provides a broad, interdisciplinary examination of play in primates, incorporating comparative, evolutionary, ecological, and cultural perspectives. Questions about what play is; how, when, and where animals play; how play develops; and why it has evolved are given detailed, scholarly attention by experts in the field. This book is a fascinating read, and one thing is clear - play is very serious business for players and researchers alike. This book would be an excellent text for a graduate seminar on the topic, and is also suitable for advanced undergraduates. Very thoughtful and valuable. - Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, Boulder Written by highly respected experts, this up-to-date volume yields enlightening comparisons of the play of children and our closest animal relatives. In addition to comparing humans and great apes, the book also examines play across a wide range of human societies, distinguishing universal aspects from those that are culturally variable. This book should be required reading for students and scholars of child development, play, and the evolutionary analysis of behavior. - Thomas G. Power, PhD, Department of Human Development, Washington State University

Table of contents

Part 1: Background and Theory. A.D. Pellegrini, P.K. Smith, Play in Great Apes and Humans. P. Bateson, The Role of Play in the Evolution of Great Apes and Humans. Part 2: Social Play. K.P. Lewis, Social Play in the Great Apes. D.P. Fry, Rough-and-Tumble Play in Humans. Part 3: Object Play. J.K. Ramsey, W.C. McGrew, Object Play in Great Apes: Studies in Nature and Captivity. A.K. Pellegrini, K. Gustafson, Boys' and Girls' Uses of Objects for Exploration, Play, and Tools in Early Childhood. Part 4: Fantasy. J.C. Gomez, B. Martin-Andrade, Fantasy Play in Apes. P.K. Smith, Social and Pretend Play in Children. Part 5: Hunter-Gatherers and Pastoral Peoples. Y. Gosso, E. Otta, M. de Lima, S. Morais, F.J.L. Ribeiro, V.S. Raad Bussab, Play in Hunter-Gatherer Society. J. Bock, Farming, Foraging, and Children's Play in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Part 6: Conclusion. P.K. Smith, A.D. Pellegrini, Play in Great Apes and Humans: Reflections on Continuities and Discontinuities.