Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Play and Social Learning

  • Jody ThompsonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3635-1



Observing others leads to recreational mimicry of witnessed behaviors; this mimicry (i.e., play) is a form of practice that allows children to develop a greater understanding of social norms, societal rules, and how these norms and rules influence social behavior.


Social learning and play are of the utmost importance in the development of individuals, not only along the extent of a single lifespan but also for the development and evolution of a species. Social learning is imperative for transmitting information from one generation to the next. Play is vital for the practice and development of new methods for a species to grow and advance.

Development Through Social Learning

Social learning can be thought of as a way to transfer information, not through genetic inheritance, but rather from a learning process that comes from observing behavior of other individuals (Mesoudi and Whiten, 2004). In his...


Gender Role Social Learning Moral Judgment Violent Behavior Social Learn Theory 
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  1. Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Bandura, A., Ross, D., & Ross, S. A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through the imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63(3), 575–582.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Mesoudi, A., & Whiten, A. (2004). The hierarchical transformation of event knowledge in human cultural transmission. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 4, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South Carolina – BeaufortBlufftonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Carey Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South Carolina - BeaufortBlufftonUSA