The Playful Brain: Venturing to the Limits of Neuroscience

The Playful Brain is an erudite exploration of the science and mystery of play. The book is targeted to a general audience – but an educated one – with a strong interest in the adaptive nature of play in human and non-human animals.
The book synthesizes decades of research on animal play, with several chapters devoted to research on mice and rat play, their particular area of study and where the most extensive research exits. The richness of the topic as the complexity of play unfolds is clear, making it difficult to understand why play has not received the systematic and serious attention of research. It is clearly so integral to development – and competence – in so many species.
One of the most engaging aspects of the book, is the Pellis’s clear love for their subject and appreciation of the joy and value of play as they try to untangle its many purposes, evolutionary functions and mechanisms in living creatures. This couple is fascinated by play – at one point telling an anecdote about how they experienced an epiphany while watching children play freely in a Parisian park, the adults present as a secure base but remaining outside the play, underscored the lack of play in children’s oversubscribed, overprotected lives in North America – a theme familiar to early childhood educators.‘The Playful Brain’ draws on examples from so many species highlighting the complexity of the research findings. The result is a steady affirmation of the importance of juvenile play that is affirming to all of us who cherish children’s play. It’s not an easy read but is very worthwhile. Source: Review by Janet Jamieson.
Professor Sergio M. Pellis and Associate Professor Vivien C Pellis both work at the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

The Playful Brain is an erudite exploration of the science and mystery of play. The book is targeted to a general audience – but an educated one – with a strong interest in the adaptive nature of play in human and non-human animals.
The book synthesizes decades of research on animal play, with several chapters devoted to research on mice and rat play, their particular area of study and where the most extensive research exits. The richness of the topic as the complexity of play unfolds is clear, making it difficult to understand why play has not received the systematic and serious attention of research. It is clearly so integral to development – and competence – in so many species.
One of the most engaging aspects of the book, is the Pellis’s clear love for their subject and appreciation of the joy and value of play as they try to untangle its many purposes, evolutionary functions and mechanisms in living creatures. This couple is fascinated by play – at one point telling an anecdote about how they experienced an epiphany while watching children play freely in a Parisian park, the adults present as a secure base but remaining outside the play, underscored the lack of play in children’s oversubscribed, overprotected lives in North America – a theme familiar to early childhood educators.‘The Playful Brain’ draws on examples from so many species highlighting the complexity of the research findings. The result is a steady affirmation of the importance of juvenile play that is affirming to all of us who cherish children’s play. It’s not an easy read but is very worthwhile. Source: Review by Janet Jamieson.
Professor Sergio M. Pellis and Associate Professor Vivien C Pellis both work at the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

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