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Children use make-believe aggression and violence to manage bad-tempered peers
Children are more likely to introduce violent themes into their pretend play, such as imaginary fighting or killing, if they are with playmates whom peers consider bad-tempered, new research suggests. Academics from the University of Cambridge believe that the tendency for children to introduce aggressive themes in these situations - which seems to happen whether or not they are personally easy to anger - may be because they are 'rehearsing' strategies to cope with hot-headed friends. (2020-10-06)

Babies' random choices become their preferences
When a baby reaches for one stuffed animal in a room filled with others just like it, that random choice is very bad news for those unpicked toys: the baby has likely just decided she doesn't like what she didn't choose. Researchers have known that adults build unconscious biases over a lifetime of choosing between things that are essentially the same, but finding that even babies do it demonstrates this way of justifying choice is fundamental to the human experience. (2020-10-02)

Internet gaming youth not more prone to psychiatric disorders
Children who show addiction-like gaming signs are not any more susceptible to mental health problems than their non-gaming peers. Some even experience less anxiety than others. (2020-10-01)

Are vultures spreaders of microbes that put human health at risk?
A new analysis published in IBIS examines whether bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that are present in wild vultures cause disease in the birds, and whether vultures play a role in spreading or preventing infectious diseases to humans and other animal species. (2020-08-05)

'SoundWear' a heads-up sound augmentation gadget helps expand children's play experience
KAIST researchers designed a wearable bracelet using sound augmentation to leverage play benefits by employing digital technology. The research team also investigated how sound influences children's play experiences according to their physical, social, and imaginative aspects. (2020-07-27)

Playtime with dad may improve children's self-control
Children whose fathers make time to play with them from a very young age may find it easier to control their behaviour and emotions as they grow up, research suggests. (2020-06-29)

Child's play 'lost' in pandemic fear
Social and community disruptions caused by the COVID-19 restrictions could have a lasting effect on child wellbeing, Flinders University researchers warn. While health, safety and education responses are the focus of restrictions, the needs of childhood independence, self-determination and play are less acknowledged, Flinders University experts explain in a new publication. (2020-05-12)

How sound and visual effects on slot machines increase the allure of gambling
The sights and sounds of winning on a slot machine may increase your desire to play--and your memories of winning big, according to new research by University of Alberta scientists. (2020-02-27)

Intervention is essential for reducing loneliness and social isolation in ASD
Researchers evaluated the efficacy of the Preschool Peer Social Intervention in facilitating peer engagement among preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), with a primary goal of increasing their social engagement during mixed interactions with their peers with ASD and peers with typical development. Key results showed that interaction, play and conversation intervention groups improved over time. Preschoolers with ASD demonstrated more complex social play capabilities, better interaction skills and more adaptive social conversations, leading to better social inclusion with their typical peers. (2020-02-21)

Mother nature and child development
A world first review of the importance of nature play could transform children's play spaces, supporting investment in city and urban parks, while also delivering important opportunities for children's physical, social and emotional development. (2020-02-14)

Head collision rates at World Cups similar but women received more medical assessments
According to research published in JAMA, female and male soccer players had similar rates of head collision events during elite tournaments such as the World Cup but half of the female players involved received medical assessments, compared with only one third of the impacted male players. (2020-01-21)

Nearly 9 in 10 parents say teens spend too much time gaming
Eighty-six percent of parents agree that teens spend too much time gaming, but many may be mistaken about the extent of their own child's video game habits, a new national poll suggests. (2020-01-20)

Full-body interaction videogames enhance social skills in children with autism disorders
Communicating with others is one of the biggest difficulties for autistic children. Asking for help, initiating social interaction and sharing their emotions become skills that require learning through exercises and therapy. Interventions based on games that require the use of technology have proved to facilitate motivation and learning processes in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). (2019-10-01)

Gendered play in hunter-gatherer children strongly influenced by community demographics
The gendered play of children from 2 hunter-gatherer societies is strongly influenced by the demographics of their communities and the gender roles modelled by the adults around them, a new study finds. (2019-09-26)

Play equipment that gets kids moving
Parents will be pleased to know that more is not always better when it comes to play equipment for their children. (2019-09-16)

B cells linked to immunotherapy for melanoma
Immunotherapy uses our body's own immune system to fight cancer. Many current immunotherapies focus on T cells, but new research shows that another type of cell, B cells, might also play an important part in immunotherapies for cancer. (2019-09-13)

Researchers and rats play 'hide and seek,' illuminating playful behavior in animals
Rats can be taught to play hide and seek with humans and can become quite skilled at the game, according to a new study, which presents a novel paradigm for studying insights into the neurobiology of playful behavior in animals. (2019-09-12)

Want to boost creativity? Try playing Minecraft
Video games that foster creative freedom can increase creativity under certain conditions, according to new research from Iowa State University. The experimental study compared the effect of playing Minecraft, with or without instruction, to watching a TV show or playing a race car video game. Those given the freedom to play Minecraft without instruction were most creative. (2019-07-08)

How fathers, children should spend time together
Fathers who spend lots of time helping out with child care-related tasks on workdays are developing the best relationships with their children. (2019-06-11)

DeepMind's new gamer AI goes 'for the win' in multiplayer first-person video games
DeepMind researchers have taught artificially intelligent gamers to play a popular 3D multiplayer first-person video game with human-like skills -- a previously insurmountable task. (2019-05-30)

How does dark play impact the effectiveness of serious video games?
A new study has shown that allowing ''dark play'' in a serious video game intended to practice skills transferable to a real-life setting does not impact the game's effectiveness. (2019-04-15)

The grassroots revolution making it normal for children to 'play out' again
Children's physical activity levels are at an all-time low, with only one in five children getting the minimum recommended one hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical exercise. However, for the last 10 years a grassroots organization called 'Playing Out' has been working hard to change this, allowing children across the UK to take back their streets. (2019-03-05)

Cells that destroy the intestine
In spite of tremendous advances in treating the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases Morbus Crohn and ulcerative colitis with medication, the chronic inflammation still cannot be kept sufficiently in check for a number of patients. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now proven that certain cells in the intestines have a key role to play in inducing acute inflammatory episodes. It is hoped that this discovery will lead to innovative approaches to treating the diseases in future. (2019-01-29)

UBC Researcher adopts play-by-play method to understand how counsellors can promote health
Using a page from a coach's playbook, a UBC researcher has come up with a method to analyze behaviour change counselling sessions and determine what makes them work. UBC Okanagan Assistant Professor Heather Gainforth researches behaviour change with the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. She has recently published research explaining her approach to understanding the play-by-play of counselling sessions to help people make positive changes in their lives. (2019-01-28)

AlphaZero AI teaches itself to beat humans at their own complex games
The ability for computers to beat humans at their own games has long been considered a benchmark for advancement in artificial intelligence (AI). (2018-12-06)

Childhood abuse linked to increased arthritis risk in adulthood
In a survey-based study of 21,889 adults in Canada, severe and/or frequent physical abuse during childhood and frequent childhood exposure to intimate partner violence were linked with higher risks or arthritis during adulthood arthritis, even after controlling for a range of factors. (2018-10-17)

Do mothers' parenting attitudes & behaviors change with their first- and second-born?
New research reveals that mothers hold similar views and attitudes when parenting their first and second children, but their parenting behaviors with their two children differ. (2018-08-08)

Game changing game changes
Using stochastic games to analyze evolution of cooperation, leads to a surprising discovery. The tragedy of the commons is resolved if the environment deteriorates in response to defection. The new approach offers invaluable insight into how cooperation plays a role in social issues ranging from sustainability to curbing climate change. It can also help policy makers to design systems which empower cooperation among the public. (2018-07-10)

Team sports have ancient roots
Competitive team games in which men test their mettle against others are universal across the world, and may have deep roots in our evolutionary past. Among hunter-gatherers, these games enable men to hone their physical skills and stamina, assess the commitment of their team members, and see how each performs under pressure. (2018-06-28)

The psychobiology of online gaming
When researchers looked at expression of a particular gene complex that is activated by chronic stress, they found differences depending on whether someone was positively engaging in video games or were problematic gamers. (2018-06-21)

The role of vitamin D in a healthy pregnancy
For a pregnancy to proceed to term, early modulation of the immunologic response is required to induce tolerance to the fetus. (2018-06-20)

Block play could improve your child's math skills, executive functioning
Semi-structured block play among preschool-age children has the potential to improve two skills - mathematics and executive functioning - critical to kindergarten readiness, according a new study by Purdue University researchers. (2018-06-12)

The search for the origin of mast cells
A team of researchers from CNRS, INSERM and Aix-Marseille Université (AMU) at the Centre of immunology Marseille-Luminy, together with the Singapore Immunology Network, has proven that not all of the immune system's important mast cells are produced in bone marrow, as was previously thought. Scientists found embryonic mast cells in mice with functions that are likely to be different than the mast cells found in adults. The study appears in the June 2018 edition of Immunity. (2018-06-04)

Apps for children should emphasize parent and child choice, researchers say
Parents don't need to fear their children playing with iPads and other devices, researchers say. Mindful play with an adult, combined with thoughtful design features, can prove beneficial to young developing minds. New research shows that thoughtfully designed content that intentionally supports parent-child interactions facilitated the same kind of play and development as analog toys. (2018-05-01)

A blood test when it is safe to return to play after a sports-related concussion
A high-sensitive blood test can aid concussed hockey players when it might be safe to return to play. In a study published by the journal Neurology, researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy has identified a superior blood-based biomarker for assessing subtle brain injury. (2018-04-23)

Adult chimpanzees play more than adult lowland gorillas in captivity
Play is more frequent in captive adult chimpanzees than in captive adult lowland gorillas, according to a study published March 7, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Giada Cordoni and Elisabetta Palagi from Univerity of Pisa in collaboration with Ivan Norscia from University of Turin. (2018-03-07)

Building a future in science with construction-based toys
Childhood play experiences strongly shape a person's spatial skills, according to a new CIRES-led study--those skills can be critical to success in fields like science and engineering. (2018-02-05)

Princesses and action heroes are for boys and girls
Given the chance, young boys will try out dolls, and girls will play with cars and building blocks. It's even possible to encourage the two sexes to play together without too much moaning, says Lauren Spinner of the University of Kent in the UK, lead author of a study in Springer's journal Sex Roles. (2018-01-23)

Researchers offer new evidence on 4-year-old children's knowledge about ecology
What do young children from diverse cultural communities think about the natural world? How does a child's existing knowledge and beliefs influence their subsequent learning? Questions like these have remained unanswered, largely because research in this area has focused almost exclusively on urban and suburban children living in majority-culture communities. The study reveals ecological knowledge in 4-year-old children from urban Native American, rural Native American and urban non-Native American communities. (2018-01-03)

Animals that play with objects learn how to use them as tools
Researchers have discovered that New Caledonian crows and kea parrots can learn about the usefulness of objects by playing with them -- similar to human baby behavior. (2017-10-02)

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