Origins and Consequences of Social Pretend Play

Robert D. Kavanaugh

in The Oxford Handbook of the Development of Play

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195393002
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Origins and Consequences of Social Pretend Play

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During early childhood, play with peers becomes an important form of social interaction for many children. Among the various ways that children play together, pretend play, often in the form of sociodramatic or role play, has received considerable attention due to its potential influence on children’s understanding of the beliefs and emotions of others. This chapter places social pretend play in two broad contexts. One is the similarities and differences between animal and human pretense. The other is the influence of culture, including family and community values and activities, on the frequency and type of make-believe play with others. Potential consequences of role play are evaluated through a discussion of empirical work on a number of possible contributors to the development of belief-emotion understanding, including family interactions and language abilities. Possible models are discussed for evaluating the influence of role play, language, and family relationships on children’s understanding of other minds.

Keywords: Keywords; imagination; role play; theory of mind; simulation; language

Article.  9481 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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