Flashcards in Lecture 13: Everyday life Deck (23):
A concise definition for it is hard but Siegler says it's "activities that are pursued for their own sake, with no motivation other than the enjoyment they bring". It's purposeless and fun.
Why is it important to study play?
It's not trivial and is a biological drive that's crucial for our health. It's essential for social skills, intelligence, creativity and problem solving.
Briefly describe play in non-humans
All healthy young mammals play. If you prevent play in rats then when scared, they hide but never come back out, whereas rats that do play do and test the environment. Therefore, play is important for survival.
Describe some evolutionary theories about play
Gray believes that it's played an important role in human social development. Early humans would play to override innate tendencies for aggression and dominance, therefore aiding a cooperative life. It also counteracts tendencies of greed and arrogance and promotes feelings of well being towards others.
List the benefits of play
Contributes to brain development, promotes attention and academic performance, supports creative problem solving, helps self regulation, improves communication and social skills, improves creativity, imagination, reasoning skills and emotional strength, enhances confidence, resilience and control and encourages exploration.
Discuss how play is involved with brain development
It improves memory, cognitive performance and it stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex. For example, Diamond 1964 found that rats raised in enriched environments had thicker cerebral cortices. Greenough 1992 found that enriched rats made fewer errors on tasks of spatial awareness. Play also triggers the release of BNDF. For example, Gordon 2003 found that rough and tumble play increases its release and it's associated with social learning and emotional behaviours. Play makes a positive difference in brain development, children who don't play as much have up to 30% smaller brains.
How does play promote academic performance?
Longitudinal evidence has found that it does. For example, Wolfgang 2001 found that the complexity of children's block play was related to their maths achievement in high school. Playful break times maximises attention and performance in primary school. This is especially important for boys, it minimises fidgeting and maximises attention which are implications for ADHD. PE is not a good substitute for play as it's structured. Stevenson 1990 found that Chinese and Japanese children had higher achievement perhaps because they have more breaks (every 40 minutes), whereas American schools only have two breaks. However, this is circumstantial evidence.
How does play support problem solving?
Pelper 1981 found that children given divergent materials (more than one solution) for play were better at solving divergent problems, they were more flexible and unique in their responses. Whereas the convergent children were better at abandoning ineffective strategies.
How does play help self regulation?
It improves executive function which involves inhibitory control and working memory. Pretend play helps your plan, conform, hold a role in your mind as well as others, behave according to the norms of your character and flexibly adjust with the plot. A causal link between play and self regulation has not been found though.
How does play help language development?
Types of play correlate with language. Timeline of early play: exploratory play, pretend play centred around the child, pretend play centred around others along with the onset of spoken words, combinatorial play along with the onset of word combinations and symbolic play along with the onset of multiword utterances. Each stage represents the capacity of representational thought. The level of play can predict language level as play provides a rich context for language learning.
Who is the first signs of play between?
It's between the mother and child, like tickling.
What are the four stages of developmental play?
Solitary play, parallel play, associative play and cooperative play.
Discuss the development of pretend play
It emerges at about 18 months and is a major developmental milestone. If often involves object substitution. A year later, it turns into sociodramatic play which involves things like tea parties. This is more complex and can continue into early adolescence.
What cognitive abilities are required for pretend play?
You need to be able to transform objects, joint plan, negotiate, problem solve and seek goals. It involves many areas of the brain like emotion, cognition, language etc. It expands their understanding of the social world and improves their understanding of other people's emotions and thinking. A causal relationship isn't established as the underlying mechanism isn't clear.
Talk about imaginary friends in children
63% of preschoolers have imaginary friends, they're usually normal people. They also show complaints about their imaginary friends. There is no difference in intelligence, personality or creativity between children with or without imaginary friends. Children with friends are usually first born or only children, watch little TV, are verbally skilful and have advanced theories of mind.
Describe some non-social play behaviours
What does this predict?
The movement to complex social play isn't smooth for some children. Rubin 1998 found that non-social play involves solitary activities in the presence of others and that non-social play can reflect psychosocial maladaptation.
It can predict peer rejection, social anxiety, loneliness, poor self esteem and negative implications of academic success.
Give an example of a play and developmental disorder
Autistic spectrum disorder
Describe the play behaviours of autistic children
They enjoy playing but can find it difficult, they struggle with cooperative play and pretend play. They struggle to understand social rules which can lead to feelings of exclusion. They find it hard to imagine and are less likely to engage in spontaneous play. They have some capacity to pretend but not spontaneously, their struggles can be reduced with structural play.
Discuss play therapy
It helps children explore their emotions, behavioural difficulties and understand trauma. ASD therapy aims to help children understand social rules, ways of communicating and being less isolated. It develops a child's interest in developing relationships and communication skills. Play therapy can also treat anxiety, depression, ADHD and conduct disorder. It's normally used with younger children. It develops a positive relationship with the therapist, helps children express concerns, learn coping strategies, learn communication skills and control their behaviour.
Discuss the gender differences in play behaviour
Gender segregation occurs during preschool and gender type play choices are seen in 2 year olds. Girls are more likely to favour dolls, kitchen sets and dressing up whereas boys are more likely to favour cars, building toys and rough and tumble play. This could be nature and/or nurture.
Give an example of the negative effect of play deprivation
Charles Whitman; he was an american engineering student in texas and he killed 17 people and wounded 41. Before the shooting, he killed his wife and mother. It was found that he had a lifelong lack of play which was a key factor in his motives. He grew up in an abusive household where his father suppressed play. He was deprived from viewing life as optimistic and learning social skills to cope with stress. It was believed that if he had spontaneous play then he would have coped with stress not via violence.
Discuss play in adults and its benefits
Neoteny is the retention of childlike characteristics into adulthood, people who have this are more playful, flexible, creative and adaptable. Adults play to learn, create, be challenged, to relax, to cooperate and for fun. It improves brain function, boosts creativity, improves relationships, develops social skills, improves cooperation, makes you feel young and relieves stress.