Decline in Independent Activity as a Cause of Decline in Children’s Mental Wellbeing: Summary of the Evidence.

ABSTRACT It is no secret that rates of anxiety and depression among school-aged children and teens in the United States are at an all-time high. Recognizing this, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Children’s Hospital Association issued, in 2021, a joint statement to...

From Neurons to Neighborhoods – The Science of Early Childhood Development

How we raise young children is one of today's most highly personalized and sharply politicized issues, in part because each of us can claim some level of "expertise." The debate has intensified as discoveries about our development—in the womb and in the first months and years—have reached the popular media....

Discovering the Importance of Play through Personal Histories and Brain Images

Stuart L. Brown is founder of the National Institute for Play, a California-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the notion that play can help transform the lives of individuals, families, schools, and organizations. Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry, and clinical research, Brown was a physician in the United States...

Cross-Species affective neuroscience decoding of the primal affective experiences of humans and related animals

Background: The issue of whether other animals have internally felt experiences has vexed animal behavioral science since its inception. Although most investigators remain agnostic on such contentious issues, there is now abundant experimental evidence indicating that all mammals have negatively and positively-valenced emotional networks concentrated in homologous brain regions that...

Play as Preparation for Learning and Life

Peter Gray, research professor at Boston College and past chair of its Psychology Department, originally trained in neurobiology at Columbia and Rockefeller University; but he now publishes in the fields of comparative, evolutionary, developmental, and educational psychology. In the academy, Gray is known best for his widely assigned university-level textbook...

Selected Principles of Pankseppian Affective Neuroscience

In the early nineties of the twentieth century Jaak Panksepp coined the term “Affective Neuroscience” (AN) today being accepted as a unique research area in cross-species brain science. By means of (i) electrical stimulation, (ii) pharmacological challenges, and (iii) brain lesions of vertebrate brains (mostly mammalian), Panksepp carved out seven...

The problem of adult play fighting: A comparative analysis of play and courtship in primates

Although play fighting, like play generally, is predominantly a feature of the juvenile phase, such behavior persists in the adults of many species. There are two major contexts in which adults engage in play fighting - with juveniles and with other adults. The least attention has been given to adult-adult...

What is neuropsychoanalysis? Clinically relevant studies of the minded brain

First paragraph of this paper: Neuropsychoanalysis seeks to understand the human mind, especially as it relates to first-person experience. It recognizes the essential role of neuroscience in such quests. However, unlike most branches of neuroscience, it positions mind and brain on an equal footing. It recognizes that the mammalian brain...

Systematic Review of Research into the Impact of Loose 

Loose parts play (LPP) interventions introduce moveable materials and equipment to children’s play spaces to facilitate unstructured, child-led play. Metaanalysis of previous school-based research has shown significant benefits of LPP for physical activity. In the current paper, we review the scope and quality of the quantitative evidence relating to cognitive, social and emotional...

What is the state of play?

My initial response to the question posed to me is that the state of play, as a scientific field, is actually pretty healthy. By this I mean that psychologists, biologists, ethologists, neuros-cientists, educators, sociologists, and others are realizing that play is an important, if not critical, aspect of life and an exciting and...

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