Penn State

Careen M. Yarnal - associate professor of recreation, park and tourism management, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Encyclopedia of Human–Animal Relationships: A Global Exploration of Our Connection with Animals

Author: Marc Bekoff

Book Description:

My research focus is older adult play and its contribution to human development and well-being. I selected the Encyclopedia of Human–Animal Relationships: A Global Exploration of our Connection with Animals for two reasons. First, many animals including probably all mammals, numerous birds, and some reptiles, play. Some aspects of mammal play such as human children’s play and non-human primate play, have received considerable academic attention. Other aspects like play in older adult humans, and more specifically in older women, have been completely neglected. The Encyclopedia does an excellent job of demonstrating the importance of play to animal and human development and well-being. Second, academic consensus suggests that play exhibits certain characteristics that differentiate it from other types of behavioral activity. Social scientists, nevertheless, tend to put human play and other animal play in separate categories and assume limited connection between the two. They seem willing to recognize that animal play has a biological component but seem unwilling to countenance a biological component to human play. The Encyclopedia stresses the importance of biosocial perspectives for bridging the animal-human divide, including the significant connections that can be made from studying similarities and differences in human and animal play.


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