Study shows amount of play closely related to mental development

2017-06-19 10:30:14 GMT2017-06-19 18:30:14(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

LONDON, June 19 (Xinhua) -- How important is play to our development? A recent study showed that primates' amount of play can influence the size of an important part of their brain, which may facilitate their learning and development skills.

It gives a hint over whether children should be freed from the overwhelming study pressure at an early age.

Published in the journal Primates, the study showed that there was generally a close relationship between the amount that primates (including humans, chimpanzees and gorillas) played and the size of their cortico-cerebellar systems. This system plays an important role in learning and building mental models.

Studies on squirrels, wild horses and brown bears have also confirmed that the amount animals played when they were young does seem to have an important effect on their long-term survival and reproductive success. And the positive feelings experienced during play may help them to counteract the damaging effects of future stress.

By playing, animals might effectively conduct informal experiments, manipulate objects, observe the consequences and build an understanding of cause-and-effect relationships. This could eventually help them to achieve important life tasks such as using tools or managing relationships.

Preliminary as the study is, it's enough to make us reconsider the potential importance of play in our lives.

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