Volume 6, Number 3
Terry Marks-Tarlow is a clinical and consulting psychologist and psychotherapist and a member of the teaching faculty at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center in Los Angeles. She is the author of Awakening Clinical Intuition: An Experiential Workbook for Psychotherapists; Psyche’s Veil: Psychotherapy, Fractals, and Complexity; Clinical Intuition in Psychotherapy: The Neurobiology of Embodied Response; and Creativity Inside Out: Learning through Multiple Intelligences. She is also a research associate of the Institute of Fractal Research in Germany, and her numerous publications include several works on fractals. Marks-Tarlow is also a rock-climber, dancer, painter, librettist, and yoga teacher. In this far-reaching interview, she explores the sources of play, creativity, and social connection and their relationship to the search for mental equilibrium. She discusses the game-like interplay of therapist and patient. And she suggests that fluid states of play rather than rigid theory should guide the course of therapy and inform clinical insight. Key words: clinical intuition, creativity, fractals, playful therapy, psychotherapy
Chess is a game of minds, bodies, and emotions. Most players recognize each of these as essential to playful competition, and all three are embedded in social relations. Thus chess, despite its reputation as a game of the mind, is not only a deeply thoughtful exercise, but also a test of physical endurance and strong emotions in its joys and failures. This exercise of thought, stamina, and feeling gets shaped, in turn, by chess’s dependence on social arrangements among a player, a competitive other, and an audience. Like all forms of social play, games like chess rely on the community in which they occur. Having spent five years observing scholastic, collegiate, community, and professional chess and having interviewed players of various skill levels, the author argues that chess must be understood in light of the social relations and the communities that shape the competition. Key words: body in chess play; chess; components of chess play; emotion in chess play; mind in chess play; social relations
The authors discuss the Adult Playfulness Trait Scale (APTS), a measurement that they developed along with a conceptualization of playfulness based on a synthesis of personality research and play literature. They assert the research they conducted, which examined the nomological network of playfulness and involved relevant constructs of personality (self as entertainment), behavior (playing), attitude (goal attainment), and perception (leisure boredom), empirically validates the APTS. They present data from two studies to show correlations between the APTS and measures of theoretically related constructs to support their claims. In particular, they use results from known-group comparisons to illustrate that the APTS can successfully and effectively distinguish individuals with different levels of playfulness. They hope thereby not only to establish the validity of the APTS but to encourage its wider application in research on play. Key words: Adult Playfulness Trait Scale; APTS; nomological network of playfulness; personality research; play; playfulness; play research; reliability studies; validating research instruments
Playgrounds with spaces that attract children increase the likelihood children will use them, the authors note, and playgrounds offer an opportunity for children to experience the risks of outdoor play. The authors used natural observation to study the children at play in a newly built New Zealand playground where such an important kind of behavioral learning was possible. In five-minute intervals over 615 minutes, they observed children of various ages and genders using the playground equipment. They discovered that swinging, spinning, and climbing—all at speeds and heights that made them risky—were the most popular activities overall for children. They discuss the important implications of these and their other findings for playground designers and for those worried about the decreasing time children spend playing outdoors. Key words: children, children’s play preferences; playgrounds, safe play, risky play
A clinical psychologist and consulting psychotherapist discusses how elements of play, inherent in the intuition required in analysis, can provide a cornerstone for serious therapeutic work. She argues that many aspects of play—its key roles in human development, individual growth, and personal creativity, among others—can help therapists and patients alike tap into matters unique, salient, and vital to analysis. She recommends therapists take advantage of this intuitive aid play offers by experimenting with embodied perception and response through the use of guided imagery. Creating a sense of play in clinical conditions, she holds, makes it safe for patients to try out new ways of feeling, thinking, being, and behaving, all of which can lead to a deeper self-awareness and to healthy change. Key words: clinical psychology; guided imagery; play in psychotherapy; self-awareness
In Designing the Creative Child: Playthings and Places in Midcentury America, Amy F. Ogata shows how a cultural preoccupation with childhood creativity left its mark on American material life. While the idea of the child as naturally creative first emerged in the eighteenth century and grew steadily during the nineteenth, it was only in the twentieth century that it took root across America. The belief that children were naturally creative, and that their creative sensibilities could be further nurtured and expanded by exposing them to stimulating environments and objects spread rapidly during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, particularly among middle- and upper-class Americans.
Whether pretend play in childhood is essential for—or even promotes—creativity in adulthood has been long debated. In Pretend Play in Childhood: Foundation of Adult Creativity, Sandra Russ has made an ambitious attempt to review the theories and research about pretend play to show its impact on creativity while also noting the controversies and obscurities involved. She begins by defining play and creativity, and she presents a comprehensive description of the scholarship that supports the connections between the two. In later chapters, she addresses the cognitive and affective connections between them and buttresses her view of these connections with data derived from her own research using the Affect in Play Scale, which she designed. She offers suggestions based on training programs to facilitate the connection between play and creativity, describes studies by well-known scientists and famous artists, and concludes with examples from her work in the United States and Italy about the cultural dimension of the differences between play and creativity.
Patrick Bateson and Paul Martin’s Play, Playfulness, Creativity, and Innovation is a fine short book, especially for two groups of readers of this journal: those who want an introduction to some of the most recent work on play in animals and its relevance to understanding play in the human animal, and those interested in the relationship of play with creativity. Both topics are currently important in biology and psychology. In eleven short chapters, a great number of topics are addressed. Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the play of nonhuman animals. Scholars and practitioners primarily focused on play in humans, especially children, should be aware of this rapidly accumulating body of knowledge. Those studying nonhuman animals are also becoming more aware of the important contributions from work on human play. Psychologists such as Anthony Pellegrini, Peter Smith, and others have facilitated these connections, particularly in relation to rough-and-tumble play and social play in general, although the literature on object, artistic, and physical play provides useful linkages as well. This book complements these efforts in that its focus moves largely toward play as a source of creativity. However, it does not shy away from broader issues, especially in the earlier chapters.
In April 2011, the inaugural Philosophy at Play conference brought together academics, play-sector workers, policy advocates, and analysts, among others, to make play the subject of philosophical inquiry and practice. The Philosophy of Play, edited by Emily Ryall, Wendy Russell, and Malcolm MacLean, is a collection of essays that arose from that conference. According to the editors, the objective of the collection is “to provide a richer understanding of the concept and nature of play, its relation and value to human life” and to provide “a deeper understanding of philosophical thinking and to open dialogue across these disciplines” (p. 2).
Victoria Wolcott’s study of urban recreation and the civil-rights movement begins with an epigraph from Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” that describes the tears of his daughter upon being told that Funtown, an amusement park in Atlanta, was “closed to colored children.” The quote effectively introduces Wolcott’s central argument, which asserts that the struggle against the segregation of recreational facilities, primarily swimming pools, roller skating rinks, and amusements parks, played an important role in the history of the civil rights movement. Wolcott’s history of “recreation riots,” what she defines as “racial conflicts in spaces of leisure,” covers both well-known events like the Orangesburg massacre, which stemmed from efforts by students at South Carolina State College to desegregate a local bowling alley, to a series of lesser-known, but significant struggles at recreation sites ranging from Cincinnati’s Coney Island amusement park to the Skateland rink in Cleveland and the public pools and beaches of Baltimore. The work both complements and extends the recent historiography of race relations and urban history in the United States by criticizing the “myth of Southern exceptionalism,” calling attention to the long battles over the enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and emphasizing the fundamental role that white violence played in sustaining segregation.
By now, the typical digital gamer has become so familiar with the words “console war” that he or she scarcely bats an eye when someone invokes them. Still, in the aftermath of the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo and the ongoing struggles between console manufacturers to capture consumer dollars and loyalty, we should remember how the competition evolved over more than thirty years of video game marketing. As we rapidly approach the eighth generation of the home-console war, and current titans Sony and Microsoft vie for attention, reviewing the landscape is both interesting and illuminating. Sam Petus’s Service Games: The Rise and Fall of SEGA offer a history lesson from a former console contender about the way the world of digital games has changed.
In the first few weeks of September 2013, sales of the latest entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, Grand Theft Auto V, topped one billion dollars. The game continued to press the controversial themes which accounted for so much frisson in the press throughout the last decade. David Kushner’s book Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto shows how high sales and lurid controversy fueled each other throughout the history of Grand Theft Auto and the career of its publisher Rockstar Games.
Gary Alan Fine is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Ethnography Workshop at Northwestern University. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of some three dozen books, including Shared Fantasy: Role Playing Games as Social Work; With the Boys: Little League Baseball and Preadolescent Culture; Gifted Tongues: High School Debate and Adolescent Culture; Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work; and Tiny Publics: A Theory of Group Culture and Action. He has contributed chapters to numerous other books, and his hundreds of articles have appeared in journals such as Cultural Sociology, The Sociological Quarterly, European Journal of Sociology, Social Psychology, and Society. He serves currently on the editorial boards of Social Psychology Quarterly, Irish Journal of Sociology, Memory Studies, Ethnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, and the Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society.
Terry Marks-Tarlow is a clinical and consulting psychologist and psychotherapist and a member of the teaching faculty at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center in Los Angeles. She is the author of Awakening Clinical Intuition: An Experiential Workbook for Psychotherapists; Clinical Intuition in Psychotherapy: The Neurobiology of Embodied Response; Creativity Inside Out: Learning through Multiple Intelligences; and Psyche’s Veil: Psychotherapy, Fractals, and Complexity. She is also a research associate of the Institute of Fractal Research in Germany. Her areas of interest include the application of neurobiological and nonlinear science to psychotherapy, creative blocks, self-expression and deep transformation, and the clinical interface between yoga and psychotherapy. She has lectured extensively and contributed to numerous journals.
Rebecca J. Sargisson is Senior Lecturer of Psychology at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Her areas of research include behavioral psychology, animal psychology, and educational psychology. She is the coauthor of Detection of Landmines by Dogs: Environmental and Behavioral Determinants and Time and Motion Studies for Demining: Snapshots of Operations. Her research has appeared in Advances in Social Work Education, New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, and Children, Youth, and Environments, among others. Tina M. Bourke is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Waikato.
Sharon Xiangyou Shen is Owner and Principal Researcher at Inno-Solution Research in Pennsylvania. She holds a doctorate in health and human development, and her areas of research include leisure and health, psychology of leisure, adult play, and psychometrics. She has contributed articles to the Journal of Leisure Research, Leisure Sciences: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and Cross-Cultural Research: The Journal of Comparative Social Science. Garry Chick is Professor and Head of the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management and also Professor of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University. He is coeditor of The Many Faces of Play; Encyclopedia of Leisure and Recreation in America; and Explorations in the Fields of Play, volume one of the Play & Culture Studies series. He has authored or coauthored more than one hundred articles and book chapters on cultural anthropology and leisure sciences, and his work has appeared in such journals as the Journal of Sport and Leisure, Journal of Leisure Research, and Leisure Sciences. Harry Zinn is Associate Professor of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management at Pennsylvania State University. His research on cross-cultural human values, attitudes, and behavior toward wildlife has appeared in the Journal of Park and Recreation Management, Journal of Leisure Research, and the International Journal of Wilderness, among others. Zinn is the recipient of more than twenty grants, and he has spoken on his work in China, Austria, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan. He serves currently as Associate Editor of Leisure Sciences: An Interdisciplinary Journal.