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The Role of Play in Human Development$
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Anthony Pellegrini

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367324

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367324.001.0001

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Play: What Is It?

Play: What Is It?

(p.6) 2 Play: What Is It?
The Role of Play in Human Development

Anthony D. Pellegrini

Oxford University Press

The study of play is interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which is the sheer variety of scholarship on the topic. Scholars from anthropology, through education, history and psychology, and zoology have studied it. Consequently, the study of play has been subjected to an enormously rich variety of theory and methods. Despite this diversity, what all of these scholars agree on is that play is incredibly difficult to define. This chapter reviews a wide array of opinion on how behavior should be categorized as play, ranging from structural and behavioral, to functional, consequential, and causal, motivational definitions.

Keywords:   play behavior, child development, human play, non-human animal play

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