Playing at Evolution


Picture taken from www.blogs.simplyfun.comTake a look at children playing, and undoubtedly you’ll smile at their innocence and fun. But did you know the evolution of humanity depends on this seemingly unstructured playtime?  Researchers now postulate that the ability of human children to play has differentiated us into a unique species that can actively manipulate and change our environment.

As David Dobbs of the NY Timeswrites, “Other species play, but none play for as much of their lives as humans do, or as imaginatively, or with as much protection from the family circle. Human children are unique in using play to explore hypothetical situations rather than to rehearse actual challenges they’ll face later.”

The article goes on to demonstrate the innovative work of Dr. Alison Gopnik, who has shown that children are actually quite expert at exploring their environments without prior bias or reliance on the safer, high-probability choices. By contrast, adults lose…

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