Brains At Play

NPR:

This week at NPR Ed, our series Playing To Learn will explore questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

Why do we humans like to play so much? Play sports, play tag, play the stock market, play duck, duck, goose? We love it all. And we’re not the only ones. Dogs, cats, bears, even birds seem to like to play. What are we all doing? Is there a point to it all?

The scientist who has perhaps done more research on brains at play than any other is a man named Jaak Panksepp. And he has developed a pretty good hypothesis.

In a nutshell, he, and many others, think play is how we social animals learn the rules of being social. Sort of counterintuitive when you think about it: Play is how you learn rules.

You might learn what your fellow humans think is fun. And what they think isn’t so fun. You might learn what your limits are. Or which of your friends likes what.

Read the whole story: NPR

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