- looking at the behaviours is subjective - dont know what the animal is actually thinking
- some argue that calling something play means that we dont understand the behaviour
- part of the problem is we can't figure out the functin of play (ie. why use the energy)
Burghardt definition of play
- repeated, incompletely functional behaviour differing from more serious vrsions structurally, contextually, or onotgenetically and initiated voluntarily when the animal is in a relaxed or low stress setting
- dont see play in species that have low resources
burghardt five criteria of play
- adaptive functions of play arent fully evident when play occurs
- its spontaneous, done for its own sake because its fun
- its an exaggerated and incomplete form of adult activities
- exhibits many repetitive activites done with many variations, unlike serious actions whihc are less felxible
- animals must be well fed, comfy, and helthy for play to occur - all stressors reduce play
- argues that study of play from an ethological standpoint is worthwhile
- "play is a motor activity performed after birth that appears to be pointless. motor patterns from other contexts may often be used in modified forms and altered temporal sequening. if the activity is directed towards another living being it is called social play"
questions about play that ethologists are concerned with
- they are concerned about the function of behaviours
- why do animals play?
- how / under what conditions has play been selected for?
functions of play - purposeless?
- observed fail to decipher the purpose
- purpose and benefit may not be acrued until long after play has occured