ERIC Number: ED263472
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Nature of Play: A Motivational Taxonomy.
Day, Hy I.; Fountain, Angela
To examine the concept of play, a taxonomy of five categories of play was devised and four studies were conducted in an attempt to distinguish among these categories on a motivational and emotional basis. Play is defined as an autotelic, self-rewarding activity. In each of the four studies, undergraduates (total N=520) read a scenario representing a type of play and imagined themselves in that situation. Subjects then completed the WHY Scale, an instrument developed to measure total motivational strength for an activity as well as the total strengths of the autotelic (play) and exotelic (work) components of the activity. Subjects also completed the Mehrabian and Russell scales that measure the emotional impact of the play activity. The results of a multivariate analysis of variance strongly favored the classification of five separate types of play and in most cases the scenarios served to delineate the parameters of each type. Other results showed that Diversive and Cathartic play were both significantly lower than other types on autotelicity. This left three forms of play: Exploratory, Creative, and Mimetic. Both Exploratory and Creative play were high in autotelicity and had little exotelic motivation. All three types of play were rated as highly pleasurable, Creative play was the least arousing, Exploratory play was characterized by feelings of least control, and Mimetic play contained the most instrumentality. (Included are data tables, an illustration of play typology, an example of the WHY Scale, and descriptions of the scenarios.) (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (93rd, Los Angeles, CA, August 23-27, 1985).