2012 Conference on Neuroesthetics
Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Stuart L. Brown MD first recognized the essential contributions of play to human development by systematically discovering its absence in the life stories of murderers and felony drunken drivers. His years of clinical practice affirmed the importance and need for healthy play throughout the human life cycle.
Dr. Stuart Brown’s broadbased evaluations of highly creative individuals revealed the centrality of playfulness to their success and well-being. Following a fellowship which allowed focused study on the origins and prevention of human violence, Dr. Brown broadened his scope of interest to include the evolution and nature of play behavior, and its manifestations in human story and art. This led to a long-term affiliation with mythologist-scholar Joseph Campbell, and to his being active as the originator and executive producer of 15 hours of PBS and BBC programming, including a popular nationally broadcast for-credit telecourse, “Transformations of Myth Through Time.”
Following these productions, the National Geographic Society sponsored Dr. Stuart Brown’s exploration of animal play in the wild, resulting in his authoring a Society magazine cover article and the production of an Explorer TV program, each on animal play behavior.
Dr. Brown’s recent years of independent scholarship and exploration of the evolution and neuroscience of human and animal play have helped to focus a central commitment bringing the promises and stories of play into general cultural consciousness and to the establishment of the National Institute for Play (NIFP). The National Institute for Play (www.nifplay.org) is a non-profit corporation guided by evidence-based play data geared toward developing transformational programs. With the help of the distinguished Scientific Advisory Board of the NIFP, newly acquired play-affirming knowledge is being assembled that is helping to establish a new Science of Play. The NIFP has produced a 3-hour PBS series, “The Promise of Play,” published a companion book to the PBS film, Where Do the Children Play, as well as conducted The First NIFP Conference on the Status of Play Science at Stanford University.
National Institute for Play: http://www.nifplay.org
Title of Talk: From Play to Innovation: Play As a Long Term Survival Necessity
Abstract: A sweeping look at the evolution of play behavior links its presence to novelty-seeking and adaptation. Reviewing our primate and hunter-gatherer heritage confirms play’s integration into our tribal past. Evaluating the effects of serious play deprivation in contemporary life, as well as the positive implications of play’s continuing daily presence leads to seeing play’s contributions to our species long-term survival need for play-incited innovation.