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The Playful Brain : Venturing to the Limits of Neuroscience - Sergio Pellis

The Playful Brain

Venturing to the Limits of Neuroscience

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For centuries the phenomenon of play has perplexed scientists across the board. Studies by biologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and educators have excited keen debate and contention, producing diverse opinions that pose play as both a childish waste of time and a necessary tool in the development of a healthy fulfilled individual. But so far the lack of empirical research has meant that questions about functionality of play, its origins, and variety amongst different species remain unanswered. In this fully integrated study Sergio and Vivien Pellis address these questions synthesizing three decades of empirical research to create a truly seminal study into the whys and wherefores of play. With implications for so many disciplines, the Pellis’ original research and novel findings will not only expand our current knowledge of play behaviour, but will inspire change and progress from the laboratory to the playground. Professor Sergio Pellis and Associate Professor Vivien Pellis both work at the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

"Their descriptive and experimental studies on play in many species are inspirational, offering a blueprint on how to do science properly - and good science is never exclusive." * The Times Higher Educational Supplement *
"an erudite exploration of the science and mystery of play" * International Play Association *
"Their descriptive and experimental studies on play in many species are inspirational, offering a blueprint on how to do science properly - and good science is never exclusive." * The Times Higher Educational Supplement *
"an erudite exploration of the science and mystery of play" * International Play Association *

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Illustrationsp. xxi
The puzzle of playp. 1
A cause for rejoicing and a cause for cautionp. 7
What do rats do when play fighting?p. 9
The playful ratp. 15
The development of play fightingp. 19
Was it good for you, big boy?p. 22
Rethinking the play fighting of ratsp. 25
Sex differences in play fightingp. 26
Turning a mouse into a ratp. 29
Turning a mouse brain into a rat brainp. 32
The peculiarities of play fighting in murid rodentsp. 36
On making species comparisonsp. 39
Reciprocity and fairness in play fightingp. 42
How much like sex is murid play fighting?p. 45
The neural control of play fightingp. 46
The role of the cortexp. 51
Is complex play fighting a by-product of changes to the brain and its development?p. 54
Explaining species differences in the complexity of playp. 60
So, what does playing buy you?p. 62
Juvenile play and the rehearsal of action patternsp. 65
Is it really the deprivation of play that causes the deficits in animals that have been reared in isolation?p. 74
Being better at coping with stressp. 78
The uniqueness of the juvenile play experiencep. 82
Learning to copep. 85
The many benefits problem revisitedp. 89
Brain begets play and play begets brainp. 90
Playing for the presentp. 98
I can't wait until I have grown up to get value out of playingp. 98
Play fighting as social assessment and social manipulationp. 102
Wisdom in the treesp. 105
Delayed and immediate functions of play revisitedp. 108
Taking species diversity seriouslyp. 110
Mouse play to rat play revisitedp. 111
From handling pups roughly to parental playp. 122
Returning to some unanswered odditiesp. 129
All roads lead to Romep. 134
What's so good about play fighting?p. 137
The uses of ambiguityp. 138
And on to humansp. 141
How to become good at being ambiguousp. 147
Why is play fighting more frequent in boys than girls?p. 151
From here to eternityp. 157
The deconstruction of complexityp. 157
Where do we go from here?p. 161
Endnotesp. 167
Bibliographyp. 204
Indexp. 246
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781851687602
ISBN-10: 1851687602
Audience: BAG
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 258
Published: 1st September 2010
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.35 x 14.48  x 2.29
Weight (kg): 0.39
Edition Number: 1