Editorial Learn Behav (2017) 45:329 DOI 10.3758/s13420-017-0293-y 1 2 Alex de Voogt & Lance Miller Published online: 4 August 2017 Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2017 Abstract long tradition of developmental psychology and ideas about its psychological significance. But, in contrast, adult game play is studied in cognitive psychology with increasing evi- . . . Keywords Play Games Evolution Developmental dence that its significance is minimal in terms of cognitive psychology Behavioral biology transfer, while its social significance does not seem generaliz- able across cultural groups. This splitting of fields might appear to create an unwanted In June of 2016, the Chicago Zoological Society–Brookfield Zoo hosted the Psychonomic Society Leading Edge contradiction, but rather it is a useful outcome of bringing scholars together. It allows for a better understanding of spe- Workshop on The Evolutionary and Psychological Significance of Play. In a partnership between the Chicago cific behaviors, reveals the limitations of current research, and highlights possibilities for future investigation. Zoological Society, American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the University of Southern Mississippi, we The crossing of the divides, often one of the noble goals for multidisciplinary meetings, is visible in other ways. Research on brought together sixteen of the leading experts from a diver- sity of fields that study play. The goal of the workshop was to imaginary companions that suggests play to be useful for later examine the evolutionary and psychological significance of adaptive social functioning strikes a chord with research on mammalian social play. The paucity of research on crocodilian play while increasing interest in cross-disciplinary research. The following special issue highlights many of the discussion play, because of its rare occurrence, is mirrored in limited de- scriptive research on board games, as they have often been points throughout the workshop, starting with an exploration of common terminology and definitional criteria. overlooked by anthropologists. The different disciplines share theoretical questions, descriptive limitations, as well as the same Behavioral observations and experiments are guided by increasingly theoretical questions to test ideas about what, diversity of play that make generalizations so problematic. As confirmed by several authors in this volume, there is a how, and, ultimately, why play occurs. Certain types of play are understood well enough to theorize convincingly that there wide assortment or diversity of play. This includes everything from play in cetaceans, rats, and dogs to board games and is a particular psychological or evolutionary significance. For example, children’s imaginary play research is grounded in a imaginary play in humans. Given the diversity of topics and frequency of research, the importance of play behavior re- mains elusive. There is growing consensus among scholars of play that the phenomenon may be too diverse and complex * Alex de Voogt to capture in one all-encompassing theory. Considering the adevoogt@amnh.org different species, types of play, and contexts, there is little reason to assume that all play shares the same universal sig- American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, USA nificance. This notion is highlighted among the contributions Chicago Zoological Society, Chicago, IL, USA of this special issue. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Learning & Behavior Springer Journals
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