Welcome to the American Journal of Play special issue on the emerging discipline of interpersonal neurobiology. Special theme issues focus on important topics in the fast-developing study of play. Each features a guest editor, a distinguished expert in the topic; and each includes work by leading research-ers and thinkers in the field. Our guest editor, psychologist and play theorist Terry Marks-Tarlow, has assembled a series of articles offering a wide lens for examining play that includes work from such fields of study as neuro science, neurochemistry, evolutionary and developmental psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, ethology, aesthetics, and anthropology.
An interview with neuropsychologist Allan N. Schore, who has pioneered the fields of interpersonal neurobiology and regulation theory, opens the issue. An article follows by anthropologist and independent scholar Ellen Dissanayake, who investigates the evolutionary origin of the arts. Our guest editor herself contributes with a piece on deception and self-deception in a case of sexual abuse that recruited play-like fantasy. Clinical professor of psychiatry, Yakov Shapiro, along with co-authors Terry Marks-Tarlow and concert pianist and conductor Joseph Fridman, explore the parallels between musical improvisation and psychotherapy. Larry Vandervert investigates the behavioral, cognitive, and affective influences of the cerebellum in the evolution of play and culture. And sex-addiction therapist Alexandra Katehakis explores the dangers of confusing female rape fantasy with real sexual violence. Taken together, these articles examine how the unity of brain, mind, and body—the product of soothing and playful attachment and attunement—arises out of healthy relationships that nurture love, creativity, and play.