We all know what it means to play. We play badminton, we play with others, we are playfully exploring an environment…. Come to think of it, there is so much to playing, what does it mean to play? According to the Oxford English dictionary, the word “play” has a total of 38 meanings – ranging from 28 shades of the verb to 10 variants of the noun. On top of that, play is not just confined to humans but is also common across many animal species.
This digital event focused on the psychology of play. The event coincided with the publication of a special issue of Learning & Behavior on The Evolutionary and Psychological Significance of Play. The issue was guest edited by Alex De Voogt (American Museum of Natural History) and Lance Miller (Chicago Zoological Society).
The following posts, listed in their order of publication, contributed to this event:
- Stephan Lewandowsky provided a brief introduction of the notion of play and pointed to all articles in the special issue.
- Alex De Voogt and Lance Miller supplied an Editorial view on the special issue.
- Cindy Dell Clark brought to bear her anthropological expertise on the morality aspect of play.
- Marek Špinka asked what keeps the concept of “play” connected together, given all the diversity in form and variation in function?
- Gordon Burghardt provided reflections on the state of play research and future directions.
- Heather Hill, one of our Digital Associate Editors, concluded with an integrative commentary on the special issue.