Children's play and the processing of information: An integrative study

L. A. Barnett, M. G. Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Levels of novelty and complexity in two toy puzzles were manipulated to test an arousal‐seeking theory of play. Preschool children played with either a simple or complex toy puzzle; fifteen‐minute sessions of play and task‐oriented behaviors were videotaped and assigned to one of nine behavioral categories. Differences in duration to puzzle solution were found to be a function of complexity level, and of prior exposure with the same or different complexity level of puzzle. With resolution of the task demand, subjects began manipulating various aspects of the testing environment as an alternative to boredom. When little new stimulation could be elicited from the testing apparatus, playful behaviors were initiated. Individual variability was high on the playful behavioral categories but low on categories involving resolution of the puzzle task. This provides support for the view that the typology of play activities is unique to each player and that activity‐based definitions of play are of little explanatory value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-37
Number of pages25
JournalLeisure Sciences
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1979

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1This project was supported in part by a research grant to the authors, NICHD (HEW PHS HDO 05951-04). Leisure Sciences, Volume 2, Number 1 0149-0400/79/0206-0013 $02.00/0 Copyright © 1979 Crane, Russak & Company, Inc.

Copyright:
Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Child development
  • Complexity
  • Information‐processing
  • Novelty
  • Play
  • Problem‐solving
  • Theories of play

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