Play in two societies: pervasiveness of process, specificity of structure.

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    • Abstract:
      The present study compared Argentine (N = 39) and U.S. (N = 43) children and their mothers on exploratory, symbolic, and social play and interaction when children were 20 months of age. Patterns of cultural similarity and difference emerged. In both cultures, boys engaged in more exploratory play than girls, and girls engaged in more symbolic play than boys; mothers of boys engaged in more exploratory play than mothers of girls, and mothers of girls engaged in more symbolic play than mothers of boys. Moreover, in both cultures, individual variation in children's exploratory and symbolic play was specifically associated with individual variation in mothers' exploratory and symbolic play, respectively. Between cultures, U.S. children and their mothers engaged in more exploratory play, whereas Argentine children and their mothers engaged in more symbolic play. Moreover, Argentine mothers exceeded U.S. mothers in social play and verbal praise of their children. During an early period of mental and social growth, general developmental processes in play may be pervasive, but dyadic and cultural structures are apparently specific. Overall, Argentine and U.S. dyads utilized different modes of exploration, representation, and interaction--emphasizing "other-directed" acts of pretense versus "functional" and "combinatorial" exploration, for example--and these individual and dyadic allocentric versus idiocentric stresses accord with larger cultural concerns of collectivism versus individualism in the two societies. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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