The Role of Play in Human Development

The Role of Play in Human Development

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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 young mammals, 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 associated with 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, great apes, 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, and play theorists in anthropology.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 22.86mm | 612.35g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195367324
  • 9780195367324
  • 1,084,015

About Anthony Pellegrini

Anthony Pellegrini is Professor of Psychology, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota.show more

Review quote

"Preoccupation with educational attainment among ambitious parents and school teachers has meant that much of a child's normal development -- and particularly their engagement in play -- is crowded out of a busy timetable. Drawing on a broad base of contemporary research, Tony Pellegrini shows how important opportunities for play in all its manifestations can be for the subsequent mental and physical health of children. Every parent and educator should read it."--Sir Patrick Bateson, Emeritus Professor of Ethology, University of Cambridge"This book is a personal, yet comprehensive, review of play in children in all its diversity by a master who has contributed enormously to the field in many areas. Pellegrini provides an up-to-date theoretical and empirical integration of play research with thoughtful and stimulating suggestions for future studies. Play is increasingly being recognized as a major understudied aspect of the human condition and this book should be required reading for all entering the maze of play."--Gordon M. Burghardt, Alumni Distinguished Service Professor, Departments of Psychology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee"Tony Pellegrini distills a wide range of research findings, including his own important contributions, into an authoritative account of play research today. There is an exemplary overview of different theoretical perspectives. This thorough but very readable book will be invaluable for those concerned about the place of play in development and in education."--Peter K Smith, Goldsmiths, University of London, U.K."This book is an excellent introduction to the critical role of play in early childhood development...The Role of Play in Human Development is relevant for anyone interested in developmental psychology, educational psychology, evolutionary biology, and play theory relating to anthropology...Another population who would find this book educational and beneficial is students in advanced undergraduate and graduate-level psychology, social work, and education courses interested in examining and learning about the complexities of play in human development...It is comprehensive yet readily understandable, well organized, and clearly presented."--PsycCRITIQUESshow more

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