|An adult Gelada monkey plays with a juvenile. A new special issue of Adaptive Behavior examines the evolution and origin of play via mathematical and computational approaches. Credit: Elisabetta Palagi|
KNOXVILLE—Research on the evolution and function of play at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) has culminated in a special issue of the journal Adaptive Behavior. The papers represent the first systematic use of computational and mathematical models to investigate the theoretical and empirical origins of play.
In a series of meetings from 2011 to 2013, the NIMBioS Working Group on Play, Evolution and Sociality brought together mathematicians, anthropologists, zoologists, neuroscientists, ecologists, psychologists and other top experts to examine play as a window into cognitive evolution and the rules of sociality.
Until the Working Group was established, the field lacked a mathematical and computational approaches for understanding how play evolves. Using mathematical tools, the group aimed to uncover factors predicting the dynamics, occurrence and trajectory of play in the animal kingdom, as well as explore the ecological, psychological and life history factors that facilitate and maintain play.
The six papers in the special issue include:
The full special issue can be found at http://adb.sagepub.com/content/23/6.toc.
The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis is an NSF-supported center that brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences.
CONTACT: Catherine Crawley, NIMBioS, +1-865-974-9350, firstname.lastname@example.org