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Guilford Publications, Inc.
The Nature of Play: Great Apes and Humans

The Nature of Play: Great Apes and Humans

by Anthony D. Pellegrini PhD, Peter K. Smith Phd


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The Nature of Play: Great Apes and Humans

This uniquely integrative volume brings together leading experts in developmental psychology and animal behavior to provide a new perspective on the nature and functions of play. In an introductory chapter, distinguished ethologist Patrick Bateson describes how youthful exploration and games contribute to both individual development and group survival--not only in humans, but in other species as well. Parallel chapters then examine social play, object play, and pretend play in humans and great apes, providing a broader context for understanding why human children behave the way they do. While much of the knowledge on human play comes from industrialized Western societies, the book also features important chapters on hunter-gatherer and pastoral cultures. Throughout, a rich array of black-and-white photographs and other illustrations enliven this authoritative work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593851170
Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 12/06/2004
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 308
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Anthony D. Pellegrini, PhD, is Professor of Psychological Foundations of Education in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His primary interest is in the development of play and dominance. He also has research interests in methodological issues in the general area of human development, with specific interest in direct observations. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Spencer Foundation, and the W. T. Grant Foundation. Dr. Pellegrini is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and has been awarded a Fellowship from the British Psychological Society.

Peter K. Smith, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Head of the Unit for School and Family Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research interests are in social development, play, bullying in school, and evolutionary theory. Dr. Smith is coauthor of Understanding Children's Development and coeditor of The Nature of School Bullying and the Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development. He has written widely on children's play, particularly on pretend play training and rough-and-tumble play. Dr. Smith is also a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Table of Contents

I. Background and Theory
1. Play in Great Apes and Humans, Anthony D. Pellegrini and Peter K. Smith
2. The Role of Play in the Evolution of Great Apes and Humans, Patrick Bateson
II. Social Play
3. Social Play in the Great Apes, Kerrie P. Lewis
4. Rough-and-Tumble Play in Humans, Douglas P. Fry
III. Object Play
5. Object Play in Great Apes: Studies in Nature and Captivity, Jacklyn K. Ramsey and William C. McGrew
6. Boys' and Girls' Uses of Objects for Exploration, Play, and Tools in Early Childhood,
Anthony D. Pellegrini and Kathy Gustafson
IV. Fantasy
7. Fantasy Play in Apes, Juan-Carlos Gómez and Beatriz Martín-Andrade
8. Social and Pretend Play in Children, Peter K. Smith
V. Hunter-Gatherers and Pastoral Peoples
9. Play in Hunter-Gatherer Society, Yumi Gosso, Emma Otta, Maria de Lima Salum e Morais,
Fernando José Leite Ribeiro, and Vera Silvia Raad Bussab
10. Farming, Foraging, and Children's Play in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, John Bock
VI. Conclusion
11. Play in Great Apes and Humans: Reflections on Continuities and Discontinuities, Peter K. Smith and Anthony D. Pellegrini


Developmental psychologists; also of interest to comparative psychologists and animal behaviorists, evolutionary psychologists, and anthropologists, as well as students in these areas. Serves as a text in advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on play in child development.

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