Article

Playing at Every Age

Elisabetta Palagi

in The Oxford Handbook of the Development of Play

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195393002
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195393002.013.0007

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Playing at Every Age

Preview

Play is ephemeral and versatile. Probably for this reason it is so difficult to study systematically. Results from the last two decades of research suggest that play is a multifunctional phenomenon that varies according to different factors such as the species, age, sex, relationship quality of the players, etc. Accordingly, animal play needs to be studied in a comparative framework in order to rigorously assess the relative weight of various functions and contexts. Play is mainly an immature matter; however, in many mammalian species social play continues through adulthood. Therefore, a complete understanding of play can be reached by taking into account its occurrence during each phase of life. Here, I present some recent studies on primates to show that play is a response to an immediate necessity. But if so, why should it be surprising to see two adults playing together?

Keywords: Social play; cognition; competence; fine-tuning; Lemur catta; Theropithecus gelada; Gorilla gorilla; Pan spp.

Article.  8303 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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