Can behavioural genetics advance the study of children’s play?

Research output: Working paperPreprint


This article discusses how play research can draw on genetically sensitive data to investigate individual differences in children’s play and tackle questions relating to the origin and function of play in child development. Recent advances in genetic research show that human traits are heritable in that they are partially influenced by individual differences in DNA and behavioural traits show significant substantial genetic associations with the environment. How this relates to play is currently unclear as there is a lack of published studies using methodologies from quantitative genetic techniques like twin studies, genome-wide association studies, and polygenic modelling to study play in an ethically appropriate way. We suggest that variables related to children, their parents, and their genetic propensities can be used to explore linkages between play, children’s developmental outcomes and the environment. Such work can potentially help us better understand how play functions as a developmental mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 7 Jul 2023

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