Navigation Links
UT professor defines play, discovers even turtles need recess
Date:10/19/2010

Seeing a child or a dog play is not a foreign sight. But what about a turtle or even a wasp?

Apparently, they play, too.

In fact, according to Gordon Burghardt, a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, many animals -- not just dogs, cats, and monkeys -- need a little play time.

"I studied the behavior of baby and juvenile reptiles for many years and never saw anything that I thought was play. Then I had an epiphany when I saw Pigface, a Nile softshell turtle, batting around a basketball at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. I realized reptiles play, too," said Burghardt.

Burghardt's findings are discussed in the October issue of The Scientist. To read the article and view Burghardt's videos of various animals playing, visit http://www.the-scientist.com/2010/10/1/44/1/.

The article, entitled "Recess," highlights Burghardt's five criteria for play. Burghardt is one of the first researchers to define "play" in people and also in species not previously thought capable of play, such as fish, reptiles and invertebrates. Topics raised in the article appeared in Burghardt's book, "The Genesis of Animal Play -- Testing the Limits."

Burghardt sums up his five criteria in one sentence: "Play is repeated behavior that is incompletely functional in the context or at the age in which it is performed and is initiated voluntarily when the animal or person is in a relaxed or low-stress setting."

According to Burghardt, by more accurately characterizing play and observing it throughout the entire animal kingdom, humans may better understand themselves.

"In animals we can evaluate more carefully the role of play in learning skills, maintaining physical and mental fitness, improving social relationships and so on than we can in people," said Burghardt. "We can then develop ideas and apply them to people to see if the same dynamics are at work. For example, the role of play in lessening the effects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children is being studied based on research in rats."

Play has already helped therapy with disturbed children. Also, studies are under way on the beneficial role of active and intellectually stimulating leisure for retirees. Similarly, jobs that resemble play are highly coveted by humans.

"Human children and adults often want to do enjoyable self-rewarding activities and will work hard to have the opportunity to do so. For the luckiest people, their work is itself play when it meets the five criteria," said Burghardt.

Burghardt's research illustrates how play is embedded in species' biology, including in the brain. Play, as much of animals' psychology including emotions, motivations, perceptions and intellect, is part of their evolutionary history and not just random, meaningless behavior, he said.

"Play is an integral part of life and may make a life worth living."


'/>"/>

Contact: Whitney Holmes
wholmes7@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. ISSA Congratulates Seminar Professor John Schaeffer
2. Genealogical tourism redefining leisure travel market, professor says
3. K-State professor finds link between low oxygen levels in body and cancer-aiding protein
4. Decreasing health-care costs is focus of new informatics book by NJIT professor
5. Unequal leg length tied to osteoarthritis, says Queens professor
6. Evidence-based medicine theory can be applied to frequent flying says US professor
7. Sales are on the Rise for Professor McMurphy's Subliminal and Binaural Visualization iPhone Apps
8. "How Facebook Makes Lonely People Even Lonelier" Revealed by Distinguished University of Chicago Professor in Interview with Brian Vaszily on IntenseExperiences.com
9. NJIT professor heads panel studying sudden car acceleration
10. Linguistics professor examines manufacturers prescription drug websites
11. WPI computer science professor receives HP Labs Innovation Research Award
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... 2016 , ... METTLER TOLEDO has launched its online ... papers, guides, handbooks, case studies, magazines, webinars, videos, catalogs, brochures, datasheets, user manuals, ... webinars and videos available online, visit the METTLER TOLEDO Expertise Library . ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... of a powerful woman's story of sacrifice and enlightenment. , “Tatiana ... author, Carolyn Fryer. Always looking for creative outlets, Carolyn gravitated toward writing through ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... U.S. Security Associates ... Top 125 for their industry leading training methods that engage their associates and ... among the global elite in employer-sponsored training and development programs. , “The 2017 ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... For many years, Andrew G. Zubinas ... thin. The beauty of the Lithuanian language and its poetry inspired him ... book, Zubinas lyrically explores all aspects of a living, breathing forest where nothing ever ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... December 05, 2016 , ... “Epilepsy ... through tomorrow, December 6th, sparks a conversation about epilepsy, bearing down on the ... 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy within their lifetime. With such a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/5/2016)... Spain Glaucoma Surgery Devices Market Outlook to ... Surgery Devices Market Outlook to 2022", provides key market ... report provides value, in millions of US dollars, volume ... - Canaloplasty Micro Catheters and Glaucoma Drainage Devices. ... data for each of these market segements, and global ...
(Date:12/5/2016)...  Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held, clinical-stage, ... Phase I trials evaluating its lead compound, CPI-613, ... of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in ... two datasets show encouraging efficacy and safety results ... T-cell non-Hodgkin,s lymphoma (T-cell NHL), respectively, supporting the ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... , Dec. 5, 2016  Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. ... Alcohol Programs Gary Tennis today filled prescriptions ... Minnich,s Pharmacy in York to ... by Dr. Levine as a prescription to acquire naloxone ... "It,s important to remember that any Pennsylvanian can walk ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: