Play Fighting

Play Fighting

1st Edition - January 1, 1975

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  • Author: Owen Aldis
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483261119

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Play Fighting considers the possible benefits of play for humans and animals. This book is divided into two main topics—animal play and human play. In these topics, this text specifically discusses the definition, evolution, and function of play; criteria of chasing and play fighting; function of laughter in human play; and spurious correlation between exploratory and playful species. The surplus energy and catharsis theories of play; vestibular stimulation acting as a reinforcer; function of mother-infant play; and properties of play-fear and serious-fear stimuli are also elaborated. This compilation likewise covers the puzzling blind spots of child psychology; play and child rearing; and play fear of “monsters”. This publication is a good source for students and individuals interested in the survival value of play for animals and healthy development of children.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments

    Figure and Quotation Credits

    Part I Animal Play

    1 Introduction

    Hors d'Oeuvres: The Benefits of Play

    The Definition, Evolution, and Function of Play

    Methods of Observation

    First Things First: The Need for Elementary Observation and Description

    2 Chasing

    Serious Flight


    The Description of Chasing Play

    Causal Factors in Chasing Games

    Solitary Play Flight in Infants

    3 Mouthing

    The Inhibition of Biting

    Mouthing as a Reinforcement

    Being Mouthed as a Reinforcement

    4 Wrestling



    Play Wrestling

    Species Differences in Wrestling

    5 Predatory Specializations



    Forms of Seizing Prey

    A Comparison of Play of Dogs and Cats

    6 Rotation, Sliding, and Vestibular Reinforcement

    Vestibular Reinforcement during Active Responding: "Rotational Acrobatics"

    7 Solitary Object Play, Exploration and Manipulation

    Object Play Distinguished from Serious Exploration and Manipulation

    Solitary Object Play

    Serious Exploration and Manipulation

    The Spurious Correlation between Exploratory and Playful Species

    Exploration of Novel Stimuli by the Young

    Learning in Object Play and Serious Exploration Compared

    Combinations of Exploration, Manipulation, and Object Play

    8 Playful Competition for Objects

    "Pretending" that an Object Has Reinforcement Value

    Tug-of-War Play

    Competition for Space: "King of the Castle"

    High-Order Play Attack

    9 Play Signals

    The Function of Laughter in Human Play

    Play Vocalizations

    The Open-Mouthed Play Face

    Tail Signals

    Ritualized Body Movements

    Circumstances that Lead to Play Signaling

    10 Play Groups and Sex Differences in Play

    Play Groups in Primates

    Sex Differences


    11 Adult Play

    Mother-Infant Play

    Play between Adults

    Courtship Play

    Social Bonds

    Arousal Function in Pack-Hunting Carnivores

    12 Motivation

    Play in Relation to the Primary Drives

    Slight Degrees of Fear and Novelty

    Play Drives

    13 Definition and Evolution

    Types of Definition

    Defining Criteria of Chasing and Play Fighting

    "Pretending" in Animal Play

    Key Stimuli and Motivation

    Behaviors that Should Not Be Classified as Play

    Jumps, Turns, Running without Chasing, and Vestibular Play

    The Preconditions for the Evolution of Play

    The Evolution of Play and Gerotony

    Species Comparisons of Play

    Summary: "Natural Divisions" in the Continuum

    Anthropomorphic Definitions of Animal Play

    The Frequency of Play in Different Species

    14 Immature Sexual Behavior

    Misleading Similarities between Early Sexual Behavior and Play

    Clear-Cut Differences between Immature Sexual Behavior and Play

    15 Function

    Species with Little or No Play Compared with Playful Species

    Training for Predatory Specializations

    Training for Locomotion

    Training for Strength; Physiological Development

    Nonpredatory Aggression

    Possible Experiments and Observations

    Learning about the Environment

    The Learning of Social Skills

    The Establishment of Rank-Order Relationships

    Social Bonds

    Surplus Energy and Catharsis Theories of Play

    Hedonistic and Arousal Theories of Play

    An Evaluation of Alternative Theories of Play

    Part II Human Play

    16 Wrestling for Superior Position

    Forms of Play Wrestling; Wrestling for Superior Position

    Throwing to the Ground

    Wrestling on the Ground

    Modified and Inhibited Responses in Play Wrestling

    Role Reversal

    17 Fragmentary Wrestling, Hitting, and Kicking

    Fragmentary Wrestling while Standing

    Leg Play


    Variety in Play Wrestling

    Frequency of Fragmentary Wrestling and Wrestling for Superior Position among Boys

    Play Wrestling in Girls



    18 Swimming Pool Play



    19 Chasing

    Brief Chases

    Chasing Combined with Other Forms of Play


    Complex Tag and Organized Games

    Chasing Combined with Hiding

    20 Vestibular Reinforcement

    Vestibular Stimulation Acting as a Reinforcer



    Amusement Park Rides

    Spinning Platters and Rolling Barrels

    Swinging and Throwing Children into the Air


    21 Mother-Infant Play

    The Function of Mother-Infant Play

    Play Techniques

    General Instructions on Play

    Experimental Studies

    22 Play Fear Reinforcement

    Properties of Play-Fear and Serious-Fear Stimuli


    Wading in the Surf

    Play Fear of "Monsters"

    23 Human and Animal Play Compared




    Wrestling and Other Forms of Play Fighting

    Predatory Specializations

    Play in the Water

    Vestibular Play

    Object Play, Exploration, and Manipulation

    Playful Competition for Objects

    Mother-Infant Play

    Play between Adults

    The Definition of Human Play

    The Function of Human Play

    24 Play and Child Rearing

    Physical Fitness

    Play Fighting and Serious Aggression

    Courage and Fear


    25 First Things First: Elementary

    Description and Classification

    The Puzzling Blind Spots of Child Psychology

    The Strengths and Weaknesses of American Psychology and European Ethology

    Research Strategies Appropriate to Elementary and Advanced Science

    Ethological Methods


    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 338
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1975
  • Published: January 1, 1975
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483261119

About the Author

Owen Aldis

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