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Abstract Deadline: 30 May 2019 | Paper Deadline: 1 September 2019
The Neuroscience of Play: Honouring the Life's Work of Jaak Panksepp
Play is an enigmatic behaviour that occurs sporadically across several lineages of the Animal Kingdom. Over the past 20-30 years, much progress has been made in documenting the comparative distribution of this behaviour, its origins, the possible benefits that accrue from its performance and insights into the mechanisms that make it possible. Studying the social play of rats has been particularly revealing of the latter, with the findings having likely wide applicability to other mammals, including humans. Jaak Panksepp was a leading figure in exploring the neuroscience underlying play in rats with many of the initiatives he pioneered now beginning to bear fruit. We are starting to gain a grasp of the neural circuit that encompasses all levels of the brain involved in motivating, rewarding and regulating play. Progress has been made in linking developmental processes, including genetic, epigenetic, hormonal and experiential factors, to the emergence of these neural circuits. Rats have also been instrumental to researchers gaining understanding as to the play-generated experiences that influence the development of social, emotional and cognitive skills and the neural circuits that are associated with those changes. Indeed, so much progress has been made in the past couple of decades that it is becoming increasingly difficult for any one researcher to summarize that progress. To this end, this special issue calls on scientists that have been exploring different facets of the neuroscience of play to contribute reviews or empirical papers that begin to capture the dimensions of this progress.
Potential contributors are invited to send an abstract of 250 words to the editors by 30 May 2019 in the first instance. Full papers of up to 7,000 words, which will go through a blind peer-review process prior to publication, need to be submitted by 1 September 2019.
Please check the International Journal of Play website for details on the journal and regarding presentation of material.
Sergio Pellis, University of Lethbridge
Steve Siviy, Gettysburg College