Approaches to the notion of a play in contemporary foreign psychology



The article introduces the definitions of a play and approaches to its understanding. On the basis of data obtained in several foreign studies the different criteria of play and such approaches to it as cognitive, narrative and socio-evolutionary are examined. The article provides the special analysis of terminological and contentual difficulties in search of play criteria and definition.

General Information

Keywords: play; children; concept of play; cognitive development; narratives; pretend play; wide and narrow meaning of play

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: review article

For citation: Smirnova E.O., Sokolova M.V., Sheina E.G. Approaches to the notion of a play in contemporary foreign psychology [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2012. Vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 53–64. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Elena O. Smirnova, Doctor of Psychology, Рrofessor of the Department of Preschool Pedagogics and Psychology of the Faculty of Psychology of Education, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia

Mariya V. Sokolova, PhD in Psychology, Senior Scientist, Center of Psychology and Educational Expertise of Play and Toys, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:

Elena G. Sheina, lecturer at the Department of Preschool Pedagogy and Psychology, Faculty of Psychology of Education, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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