Hello my name is Phil Johnson I am currently working on my Phd at the University of Iowa. For my research I am attempting to look at play from an evolutionary perspective and investigate how play has shaped the mammalian brain and more specifically how a lack of play in humans can lead to a loss of neuroplasticity which is associated with all kinds of psychopathologies. In its essence "play" can not be understood as an activity but must be recognized as a mental or neurophysiological state. When approached from this direction it becomes apparent that play can exist in virtually any circumstance or any experience as long as there is an absence of fear or threat. If one is to look at the purpose of play in the evolution of the mammalian lineage there is no doubt that play has been THE fundamental characteristic or quality that has given homo sapiens their ability to think creatively, imaginatively, etc. The Dutch thinker Johan Huizinga was correct in his labeling humans as Homo Ludens as opposed to Homo Sapien. Play is the most important aspect of human life but has yet to be appreciated. It will take extremely intelligent people to grasp this concept but eventually it will change the landscape of every human society on earth.
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