Title: Imaginative play predisposition, playfulness, ideational fluency
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00102831/00001
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Title: Imaginative play predisposition, playfulness, ideational fluency
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Depper, Devora Sue
Copyright Date: 1979
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Bibliographic ID: UF00102831
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Copyright 1979


Devora Sue Depper


This research would not have been possible without the

support and guidance of many individuals. My doctoral com-

mittee provided both guidance in experimental rigor as

well as personal support. Of particular note was my chair

Jacquelin Goldman whose personal investment in my work has

provided a significant enhancement of my professional de-

velopment. In addition the gentle wisdom and loving sup-

port of Benjamen Barger has been unwavering throughout my

graduate training. I would also like to thank the teachers

and administration of P.K. Yonge Laboratory School. With-

out their cooperation this study would not have been pos-

sible. Finally, the immeasurable support and love of my

family and friends enabled me to maintain my own playful-

ness throughout this research.




ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . .

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . .



Classical Theories . . . . .
Recent Theories . . . . . .

MENTAL DATA BASE . . . . . .

Relationship of Play to Psychopathology
Antecedents to Imaginative Play .
Relationship of Play Behavior and
Playfulness . . . . . . .
Hypotheses . . . . . . .


Selection of the Population . . .
Subjects . . . . . . .
Procedure . . . . . . .
Means of Evaluation . . . . .
Validation and Reliability of the
Tests . . . . . . . .
Data on Validity from the Literature
Data on Reliability from the
Literature . . . . . . .
The Playfulness Scale . . . .
The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
Measuring Imaginative Play Predisposi-
tion . . . . . . . .

Inter-rater Reliability . . . .
Hypotheses I and II . . . . .
Hypothesis III . . . . . .
Hypothesis IV . . . . . . .
Hypothesis V, VI and VII . . . .
Discussion . . . . . . .




S 5


S 20



S. 35
S. 35
S. 36
S. 36
S. 38

S. 40

S. 41
S. 42

. 44






FOR SCORING . . . . .


INTERVIEW . . . . .


. . 81

S . 83

. . 95

REFERENCES . . . . . . . .




Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy




JUNE 1979

Chairman: Jacquelin Goldman, Ph.D.
Major Department: Psychology

Children's play behavior has been the focus of numer-

ous experimental studies and theoretical conceptualizations.

As a body of literature, however, it is markedly diverse

and without agreement as to what play behavior is or its

significance. This study examined three constructs: play-

fulness, imaginative play predisposition and ideational flu-

ency which have theoretically encompassed both the affec-

tive and cognitive functions of play behavior. This was

done in an effort to provide a more unified theoretical

conceptualization as well as an experimental data base for

developmental aspects of play behavior. In addition, an

extensive literature review of the theoretical literature

on play behavior was provided.

Seventy-nine kindergarten and first-grade white chil-

dren from five socioeconomic status backgrounds were stud-

ied in a semi-urban school. All children were of at least

normal intelligence and participating in the regular school

program. Playfulness, a multidimensional construct, was

examined utilizing a teacher rating scale developed by

Lieberman. This construct hypothesizes five qualitative

and quantitative dimensions of playfulness: physical spon-

taneity, social spontaneity, humor, manifest joy, and cog-

nitive spontaneity. Imaginative play predisposition, the

ability to interject an "as if" quality into play, was

measured utilizing Singer's interview technique as well

as the Holtzman Inkblot Test. Two different scoring tech-

niques were utilized for the Holtzman Inkblot Test in an

effort to further clarify the methodology necessary to

measure imaginative play predisposition in a younger popu-

lation. Ideational fluency was measured utilizing Lieber-

man's modification of Torrance's work. It was hypothesized

that these three constructs could be measured and repli-

cated on a sample of kindergarten and first grade children

from heterogeneous socioeconomic status backgrounds in a

semi-urban school. It was further hypothesized that there

would be positive interrelationships between these behav-

iors, as measured, providing the beginning of the data base

necessary for a more unitary theoretical conceptualization

of play.

Imaginative play predisposition was replicated on this

population with approximately 50% of the subjects demon-

strating high imaginative play predisposition and 50% dem-

onstrating low imaginative play predisposition. There were


continued difficulties with the Holtzman Inkblot Test, as

an appropriate methodology for a younger population. The

evidence for ideational fluency was replicated on this pop-

ulation. The Playfulness Scale proved problematical in that

the reliability of the data is somewhat questionable. Sig-

nificant relationships were found between imaginative play

predisposition and cognitive spontaneity. The relationship

between imaginative play predisposition as measured by the

Singer interview plus the Holtzman movement score and the

quantitative index for cognitive spontaneity as measured

by the Lieberman rating scale was significant at the .005

level. Imaginative play predisposition as measured by the

Singer interview plus the Holtzman movement score and the

qualitative index for cognitive spontaneity as measured

by the Lieberman rating scale was significant at the .05

level. Imaginative play predisposition as measured by the

Singer interview plus the Holtzman movement plus human re-

sponse and the quantitative index for cognitive spontaneity

as measured by the Lieberman rating scale was related at

the .005 level of significance. Discussion provides clar-

ification of results, new methodological considerations, as

well as new directions for future research.



Children's play has captured the interest of philos-

ophers, psychologists, anthropologists and sociologists.

As Plato is paraphrased by Erikson, the model of true play-

fulness is

in the need of all young creatures, animal and
human, to leap. To truly leap, you must learn
how to use the ground as a springboard and how
to land resiliently and safely. It means to
test the leeway allowed by given limits; to out-
do and yet not escape gravity. Thus, wherever
playfulness prevails there is always a surpriz-
ing element, surpassing mere repetition or
habituation and at its best suggesting some
virgin chance conquered.(Erikson, 1977, p. 17)

Despite a longstanding interest, a variety of theoretical

conceptualizations and numerous studies, there is little

agreement as to what play is, or the significance of this be-

havior. Weisler and McCall (1976) note that there is an

inflationary trend in the number of articles produced each

year but a recession in the real production of knowledge in

that area. They suggest that part of the difficulty lies

in the lack of a precise definition of play and the lack of

a comprehensive theory of play. This paper will first pro-

vide a historical perspective on the various trends in play

theory. Then two recent conceptualizations of play behavior,


Singer's (1968) construct of imaginative play and Lieber-

man's (1964) construct of playfulness will be discussed

in light of their usefulness for providing unity in the


A brief look at various theoretical perspectives of

play is necessary at this point to provide a fuller per-

spective on psychological thinking regarding play behavior.

There have been numerous conceptualizations of play. Gil-

more (1966) divides these theories into two categories.

The classical theories, which are concerned with the ante-

cedents and purposes of play and not its content, comprise

the first group. The more recent theories concerned with

the form of play in relation to specifying its cause and

effects comprise the second group.

Classical Theories

Within the classical theories, Gilmore (1966) notes

that one of the oldest theoretical statements concerning

the significance of play is attributed to both Schiller

(1875) and Spencer (1873). This is the surplus energy

theory. This theory states that because the young are

taken care of by their parents, they have a surplus of

energy, as they do not expend energy for self-preservation.

This energy surplus is released through the exuberant ac-

tivities of play. The theory postulates two things: first,

there is a quantity of energy available to the organism;

and second, that there is a tendency to expend this energy

through play, although it is not necessary for the main-

tenance of a life balance (Gilmore, 1966). This theory

has been put forth by others. Gilmore (1966) notes Terman

(1932), Tinklepaugh (1942), and Alexander (1958).

A second classical theory of play is the relaxation

theory of play (Gilmore, 1966). Play activity is the prod-

uct of a deficit of energy, not a surplus. Lazarus (1883)

and Patrick (1916) are associated with this theory in which

play is seen as the method by which spent energy is replen-

ished (Gilmore, 1966). Gilmore explains that play is a

mode for dissipating the inhibition built up from fatigue

due to tasks that are new to the organism. It follows then

that most play would occur in childhood, as this is a time

for acquiring new skills. Play shows very little buildup

of inhibition because it reflects deep rooted race habits

(psychogenically acquired behaviors that are not new to the

organism) (Gilmore, 1966).

Theorists have also seen play as a form of instinctive

behavior (Gilmore, 1966). Britt and Janus (1941) and Beach

(1945) list approximately two dozen theorists who see play

as a form of instinctive behavior. Karl Groos (1898, 1908)

is one of these theorists whose theory is known as the pre-

exercise theory of play. In this theory play is the product

of emerging instincts. Play is the exercising of the

emerging instincts in preparation for their time of matura-


G. Stanley Hall (1906), a contemporary of Groos, put

forward his recapitulation theory of play. In this theory

the purpose of play is to rid the organism of unnecessary

instinctual skills which are the legacy of heredity. This

is in striking contrast to Groos' theory; rather than de-

veloping new instinctual skills play is now proposed to

eliminate primitive instinctual skills. Hall also postu-

lated stages of play. He was the first to do this, and

stated that each child passes through stages corresponding

to the cultural stages in the development of races (Gil-

more, 1966). Wundt (1913) was also a well-known recapitu-

lation theorist.

An interesting approach to play with an anthropological

bent came from Appleton (1910). Having contrasted play in

primitive societies and children she suggested that play

is a response to a generalized drive for growth in the or-

ganism. Rather than instinctual pre-exercise as suggested

by Groos, play is the expression of hunger within the or-

ganism for growth to the stage at which the instinct could

operate. Play, therefore, functions, as a facilitator for

skills necessary to the function of adult instincts. Since

the child wants mastery and "knows" that play is the method

to achieve it, he plays. Gilmore (1966) labels Appleton's

theory a growth theory of play.


The early 1900's also produced the ego expanding the-

ories of play. K. Lange (1901) and Claraparede (1911,

1934) are considered to be the first proponents of this per-

spective (Gilmore, 1966). Ego in these theories equates

with the reality mapping aspects of cognitive behavior.

Claraparede saw play as an exercising of the ego that

strengthened developing cognitive skills and facilitated

the emergence of new skills. Lange saw play as the process

for ego completion.

Recent Theories

The newer theories of play differ from the old in two

respects. First is the focus on explanations of play based

on dynamics of the individual personality, and the second

is the concern with explaining individual changes in play

behavior (Gilmore, 1966). Gilmore labels these the infan-

tile dynamics theories. Piagetian and psychoanalytic con-

cepts of play are the best known theories in this category.

Lewin (1935) and White (1959, 1964) also fit in this cate-


Lewin's position is not extensively elaborated. Play

occurs because of the unstructured lifespace of the child.

This results in a discrimination failure between what is

real and what is unreal. It is easy, therefore, for the

child to enter an unreal region where things are changeable

and arbitrary.

Piaget's theory of play is more comprehensive. Play

is a result of the child's cognitive structure. For Piaget,

play is the product of a stage of thinking through which

the child must pass in order to develop from an original

egocentric viewpoint to the adult's viewpoint (Gilmore,

1966). In order to understand Piaget's conceptualization

of play it is necessary to examine the process of cognitive

dynamics. Gilmore (1966) explicates this well. Every human

behavior within his environment has two discriminable as-

pects which are central to Piaget's theory. The first as-

pect is the organism recognizing, categorizing and utilizing

events in terms of previous knowledge. He "bends reality"

to conform to his habits, conventions and preferences. The

second is the individual's response to unique aspects of a

new situation which he incorporates to modify or to adjust

to this "new reality." These two aspects are always pres-

ent; one can, however, predominate over the other. Piaget

suggests that these two aspects of behavior come from dif-

ferent sources, appear at different times and develop at

different rates. It is this dynamic which leads to the

appearance of play in children.

Play is that behavior in which the aspect of adjusting

reality to fit one's concept of reality predominates. The

aspect of accommodating to things as they really are takes

a backseat. As this is an aspect of all behavior, all be-

havior has some play-like aspects. Behaviors are all more

or less playlike, with respect to coping with reality.

Play versus non-play behavior is not a relevant distinction.

Piaget outlines three categories of play: practice

play, symbolic play and "games with rules." Practice play

is evidenced in the infant as the repetitious performance

of any newly acquired ability. This will be performed in

a variety of contexts. All new objects the infant encoun-

ters are made to fit this pattern regardless of their ap-

propriateness. New learning does not take place. In addi-

tion, the infant evidences pleasure with this behavior.

Symbolic play has the characteristic of the child symboliz-

ing a behavior in a play. Gilmore (1966) cites the example

of a child putting a rag to sleep. The rag, treated as

though living, symbolizes to the child that which is salient

to him in the concept of sleep. "Games with rules" develop

later in life and the name is self-explanatory.

Piaget also draws a parallel between play and dream-

ing. As in play, concepts in dreams are modified to fit

existing emotions, often discounting obvious and logical


Piaget also examined the development of play in the

child. The newborn infant has only limited reflex abilities

for processing his world cognitively, more specifically for

recognizing and incorporating his experiences or to allow

for uniqueness in his experiences. Postulated, however,

is a tendency in all organisms to make repeated contact

with a novel event. This tendency "forces" in the infant

new knowledge, change in habits and new distinctions re-

garding his environment. The infant becomes able to act

in a play-like manner as he becomes able to act by habit,

thereby reducing the number of unique aspects of a given

experience. The play potential is a given in the nature

of the child and his cognitive structure.

Play behavior is reduced in frequency as a function

of the child's experiences. As the child has more expe-

riences, he learns more improved and rational modes of en-

countering the unfamiliar environment. The child no longer

depends on partially appropriate (play-like) responses to

new situations. Adult mastery is hallmarked by the indi-

vidual's reduced need to mold reality to fit his state of

the moment.

Gilmore summarizes Piaget's position as follows:

Play is the behavior seen whenever there is a
prepondernace of that aspect of all behavior
that involves taking in, molding, and using
things, all in terms of one's current inclina-
tion and habit, without deference to any as-
pects of so behaving that might not "fit" in
some sense. Play can occur only insofar as be-
haviors are sophisticated enough to show dif-
ferentiation between the taking in aspect of
behavior that bends reality to fit the self;
and the self modifying aspects of behavior
that bend the self to fit reality. Play can
occur only insofar as there are many different
modes of thought and action into which reality
may be bent. Thus, it is that the newborn shows
no play, and that until middle childhood more
and more play is seen. Finally, play will not
occur insofar as more adaptive responses become

familiar and can be easily invented when
needed. Thus, it is that play is reduced
in prominence in late childhood.(Gilmore,
1966, p. 318)

Cause and effects of play are sharply distinguished

in Piaget's theory. There are two important products of

play. The first is joy or pleasure or some closely related

state. Play brings with it the "functional pleasure of

use" which is readily apparent in the infant engaged in

practice play. The second product of play is adaptive.

Play facilitates the retention of new abilities. What may

be lost through disuse is maintained as these new abili-

ties get more attention than "reality."

Piaget has also provided a system for categorizing

types of play behavior. Briefly, he has noted two cate-

gories which reduce unpleasantness for the child. The

first category is "compensatory combinations." This be-

havior "improves" reality through distortion to fit more

agreeably with the child's conceptualization. The second

category is "liquidating combinations," in which behavior

is freed from strong affect that initiated the play behav-

ior. An example Piaget notes is of his daughter. After

having been frightened by seeing a dead duck, the child

played at imitating the dead duck and made her dolls see

a dead duck without fear. This source of play is similar

to psychoanalytic conceptualization of play.

A psychoanalytic concept of play was first introduced

by Freud (1908, 1920, 1926) in regard to fantasy and repe-

tition behaviors. Gilmore (1966) states that Freud

thought of play as being closely related to fantasy behav-

ior; in fact he defined play as fantasy woven around real

objects (toys) as contrasted with pure fantasy, which is


Two classes of wishes were distinguished by Freud,

either of which is necessary for play. The first category

consists of the wishes of a child to be grown up or in a

more fortunate position. The child fantasizes a condition

he wishes to exist, in accordance with his tendency to seek

immediate pleasure. Secondly, play arises from the ten-

dency to repeat any experience which has been too much for

him. In this the child wishes to take an active role in

painful situations he experienced passively. Erikson clar-

ifies this as follows:

Play often proves to be the infantile way of
thinking over difficult experiences and of re-
storing a sense of mastery, comparable to the
way in which we repeat, in ruminations and in
endless talk, in daydreams and in dreams during
sleep, experiences which have been too much for
us. (Erikson, 1959, p. 85)

A "sense of mastery" is the most frequently cited ef-

fect of play in psychoanalytic theory. This mastery feel-

ing is limited to play which reverses a painful experience.

Purely wish fulfillment play is pleasurable through the

reduction of psychic tensions. Waelder (1933) pointed out

that play can circumvent the action of the superego as well

as reality. Play makes it possible to achieve what is phys-

ically or morally impossible.

There have been some modifications of psychoanalytic

theory of play notable by Anna Freud (1936) and Erik Erik-

son (1937, 1940, 1950, 1951, 1959). Anna Freud suggests

that play may serve a defensive purpose as well as promot-

ing active coping behavior. In imitative play where the

imitated object is feared, there is a lessening of the fear

either of the object or what it represents. Erikison empha-

sizes the coping aspects of play (Gilmore, 1966). Erikson

(1950) states, The human animal not only plays most and

longest, it also remains ready to become deadly serious in

the most irrational contexts. Gilmore (1966) notes that

Erikson's concept of play disruption is perhaps his most

important contribution to play theory. Anxiety leads to

play but play can become stressful by mobilizing the anxiety

it is trying to process. This results in an abrupt stop in

play. Recently, Erikson (1977) has expanded play as a

model for understanding the ritualization of human experi-


In summary, psychoanalytic theory emphasizes the adap-

tive aspects of play behavior motivated by intrapsychic

dynamics of the individual. Freud discussed play behavior

within the framework of wish fulfillment. Here reality is

modified to satisfy the drive to reduce conflict. A. Freud

and Erikson further pointed out the adaptive aspects of mas-

tery in play. Erikson (1950) states that there is mastery

of reality through the creation of "model situations."

White (1959) has addressed mastery derived through play be-

havior which is not based in conflict.

White (1959) proposes that play behavior promotes a

general relationship of effectiveness which the child seeks

to maintain or to establish between himself and the environ-

ment. The control over animate and inanimate objects or

situations, especially those which cannot be affected in

reality, is the goal of "effectance." As the child matures,

the gap between what others do and what the child accom-

plishes is reduced. Play is motivated by the ego-competence

energy which is a drive for effectiveness. Play occurs be-

cause one feels inclined toward such behavior and finds it

naturally satisfying (feeling of efficacy). White states

Young animals and children do not explore be-
cause of a desire to practice useful skills
and prepare for future contingencies. They
play and explore because it is fun, because
there is something inherently satisfying about
it, not because it is going to have a value
in a future time.(White, 1964, p. 34)

Focusing on the more recent conceptualizations of play,

Gilmore's (1966) second category, play is conceptualized as

serving several functions in the child. Cognitive theorists

have emphasized the necessity for play in cognitive

development. Psychoanalytic theorists have focused on

its usefulness for intrapsychic development. White has

suggested that the motivation for and utility of play is

in a more general mastery over his world. Two recent the-

orists have also attempted to explicate the function of

play behavior.

Two new themes in the area of play are Singer's (1973)

conceptualization of imaginative play and Lieberman's

(1964) construct of playfulness. Both of these authors

are addressing common aspects of play behavior. Each has

articulated constructs which provide new information and

clarity regarding more specific aspects of behavior within

the general framework of play. By examining their similar-

ities, it may be possible to provide a more comprehensive

understanding of play behavior.

Singer (1973) defines imaginative play as the intro-

duction of an "as if" dimension to the individual's per-

ception of his experience. This is a modification of the

environment based on experience carried in memory with

early imagery. He notes that various other theorists

(Freud, 1929; Lewin, 1935; Luria, 1932) have noted this

transformation, postulating that this quality is fantasy

in the child and daydreaming in the adult. Singer further

articulates this play behavior as play which requires a

central generation of imagery and involves pretend elements,

i.e. changing of voices and roles, changes in time and

space. This definition of play is consonant with many pre-

viously postulated theoretical conceptualizations of play

(psychoanalytic: A. Freud, 1937; S. Freud, 1958,

1959; Erikson, 1950; Hartmann, 1958; Piaget, 1962; White,

1959, 1960, 1964).

Lieberman (1964, 1977) examines a core of personality

traits which she labels playfulness which can be seen as

an element in play, imagination, and creativity. She sug-

gests that there is a developmental continuity of playful-

ness as a behavior and that playfulness survives play and

becomes a personality trait of the individual. She notes

that playfulness is made up of spontaneity, manifest joy

and a sense of humor. Playfulness, then, can be seen in

the perspective of a qualitative aspect of play. Lieber-

man's work is also consonant with previous play theorists

(Huizinga, 1955; Piaget, 1932; White, 1959, 1960, 1964).

Each of these two theorists, Singer, and Lieberman,

is examining play behavior in an effort to provide a the-

oretical unity incorporating the cognitive and affective

dimensions of play. Singer (1966, 1973a) examines the play

behavior with respect to the child and hypothesizes the im-

plications of this play behavior with respect to personality

development and cognitive processes. Lieberman, on the

other hand, explores the personality trait of playfulness

which is theoretically based around imagination and play be-

havior (Lieberman, 1977). By examining the relationship


between these constructs and the cognitive component of

ideational fluency, it is hoped that this author may provide

further codification of our understanding of play behavior

and generate further unity within a comprehensive theory

of play.


The concept of imaginative play as defined by Singer

(1973) provides a unity of various theories of play.

Imaginative play is the ability to inject an "as if" or

make-believe component in play. We can conceptualize this

behavior as serving a variety of functions for the child.

The use of imagination and fantasy provide the child with

a tool to facilitate the organization of his world along

both cognitive and affective dimensions. Psychoanalytic

theorists have commented on the purpose of bending reality

to meet the individual's needs. Cognitive theorists have

articulated the process by which the child bends reality

in order to organize his world cognitively.

Freud discussed fantasy behavior within the framework

of wish fulfillment. Here reality is modified to satisfy

the drive to reduce conflict. A. Freud and Erikson pointed

out the adaptive aspects of mastery in play involving imag-

inative elements. Erikson (1950) points out that there is

a mastery of reality through the creation of "model situa-

tions" (imaginary situations). Hartmann (1958) stated that

fantasy is an autonomous ego function which is developed

without conflict. This expands the psychoanalytic

conceptualization of play and fits well with Singer's con-

ceptualization. Singer's (1966) construct of imaginative

play describes the process necessary to reduce conflict

(Freud) or to gain mastery (A. Freud, Erikson). Modifica-

tion of reality by injecting an "as if" or make-believe com-

ponent enables the child to reduce conflict. Singer (1966)

is defining the mechanism necessary to accomplish the func-

tion of play in psychoanalytic theory; that of bending

reality to reduce conflict.

Piaget's (1962) conceptualization of play as defined

by the process of assimilation neatly supports Singer's

theory. According to Piaget, play is not a behavior per se

but a process. Play is the assimilation of reality to the

ego. Play is distinguishable by a modification, varying

in degree of the conditions of equilibrium between reality

and the ego. The child utilizes assimilation in order to

respond to his environment with the schemata available at

a certain age. The introduction of make-believe elements

aids in the maintenance of his perceptions at equilibrium

or in balance with his world. Singer's (1966) construct of

imaginative play is for the most part equivalent to Piaget's

(1962) construct of symbolic play.

"Symbolic play, then, is only one form of thought linked

to all others by its mechanism, but having as its sole aim

satisfaction of the ego, i.e., individual truth as opposed

to collective and impersonal truth ..." (Piaget, 1962, p. 167).

Millar (1968) interprets aspects of play within a cognitive

framework as well. She hypothesizes that imaginative play

is an aspect of cognitive feedback processes which enable

the human to code and process incoming data. This is also

stated by Schachtel (1959). In examining the repetitive as-

pects of play, he notes that this repetition provides the

opportunity to integrate new information into a limited ex-

perience background. White (1960) expands on this theme of

cognitive mastery into other areas of behavior.

White (1960) places the child's play behavior within

the general developmental framework of striving for compe-

tence. The child utilizes play to expand his own capacities

within the limits of his capacities. This includes social

as well as, cognitive abilities. Tomkins (1962, 1963) ex-

pands the cognitive and affective components of play to note

that it is utilized to organize the child's experience along

both these dimensions. The peak of familiarity of material

yields joy and laughter (Singer, 1966; Tomkins, 1962).

Singer's (1966) construct of imaginative play effective-

ly provides a link between the affective and cognitive aspects

of play behavior described in psychoanalytic and cognitive

theories. It does so by providing the mechanism by which the

affective needs articulated in psychoanalytic theory are ac-

complished and by describing the same mechanism which cog-

nitive theorists have limited to information processing.

As White (1960) expands the function of play behavior into

the realm of competence, taking it beyond conflict reduc-

tion and cognitive processes, we can see that Singer's

(1966) construct neatly provides the appropriate mechanism

here as well. The child's affective development and cog-

nitive development are limited by his age, i.e., he has lim-

ited intrapsychic structure and cognitive schemata for pro-

cessing his world effectively. Imaginative play provides

a mechanism for expanding his competence, given these lim-

itations, to achieve mastery.

Relationship of Play to Psychopathology

Singer expands his theoretical work to postulate as-

pects of personality development. Corrigan (1960) states

that daydreaming can be useful as a coping mechanism. The

development of imagination and daydreaming may be associ-

ated with a pattern of development and personality organiza-

tion. This personality organization is one in which think-

ing is valued and affective control and motor control are

emphasized. Within this personality development Singer

(1973) addresses the issues of pathological development.

He suggests that the high fantasy oriented individual will

develop a more obsessive defense pattern. The low fantasy

individual, on the other hand, will develop a more hyster-

ical style, where defenses are primarily repression and de-


In essence Singer is proposing that those individuals

who have a high imaginative play predisposition will then

utilize this mechanism defensively to reduce conflict.

Again it becomes clear that Singer is describing an inter-

nal process which describes one form of defense mechanism

according to psychoanalytic theory. What he is proposing

is that what psychoanalytic theory describes in children

as play, wish fulfillment to reduce conflict, in adults

is transformed into an internal obsessive defensive pat-

tern. He goes one step further to propose that individuals

with a high imaginative predisposition evidenced in child-

hood as high frequency imaginative play behavior, are more

likely to utilize this process defensively thereby develop-

ing a more obsessive personality style.

Antecedents to Imaginative Play

Singer's (1973) first study of imaginative play pre-

disposition explored several variables: background vari-

ables of the child and his relationship to his parents,

waiting behavior, creativity and personality characteris-

tics. Singer hypothesized that imaginative play viewed as

a manifestation of cognitive and affective style might well

be associated with a pattern of development and personality

organization in which thinking is valued and affective and

motor control would be more emphasized. Contact with at

least one benign adult and the opportunity to be alone

were seen as necessary to increased imaginative play de-

velopment. In addition, from the perspective of psycho-

pathology, high fantasizers were expected to utilize de-

fenses associated with obsessional characteristics, while

low imaginative play children were expected to exhibit pat-

terns more like those of hysterical personalities with less

self-consciousness and greater use of the mechanisms of de-

nial and repression. Singer examined forty children between

the ages of 6 and 9 years, of middle SES backgrounds and of

somewhat above average intelligence. The results supported

several of the hypotheses and clearly pointed out differ-

ences between high and low imaginative play subjects. High

imaginative play subjects reported greater associations be-

tween their parents and themselves, were able to wait for

longer periods of time, had significantly higher ratings

for creativity in a storytelling task and showed more ob-

sessional defense mechanisms than low imaginative play sub-


Pulaski (1973) examined the effects of toy structure

on imaginative play. It was hypothesized that minimally

structured materials would stimulate more imaginative play

than highly structured materials. Subjects in this study

were kindergarten, first and second graders. Again this

sample was homogeneous: upper middle class children attend-

ing a private school. The results were quite interesting.

Minimally structured toys, for both low and high imaginative

play subjects yielded a greater variety of themes in play

than highly structured toys. High imaginative play chil-

dren played at a higher fantasy level than low imaginative

play subjects. High imaginative play children also became

more deeply absorbed in their play than did low imaginative

play subjects. High imaginative play children also appeared

to be more pleased and interested in their play than low

imaginative play subjects. In addition, high imaginative

play subjects showed a tendency to integrate more than one

category of toy in their play. High imaginative play sub-

jects also showed greater flexibility in coping with demands

upon their ability to produce fantasy. They also responded

less negatively to interruptions in their play. Overall,

it can be seen that there was a distinct difference between

low and high imaginative play children from equally priv-

ileged situations and with equally high intelligence. High

imaginative play children were more original, creative,

flexible and well integrated.

Biblow (1973) examined drive reduction and mood change

in the control of aggressive responses in high and low imag-

inative play subjects. Examining fifth grade white, middle

class children of average intelligence, he found that high

imaginative play subjects reduced aggression through the

use of fantasy. Biblow concludes that the spectrum of his

data supports that there are distinct differences between

high and low imaginative play subjects, both in behavioral

aggression and in all mood states.

Freyburg (1973) examined the possibility of increas-

ing imaginative play in urban disadvantaged kindergarteners.

Utilizing a public school, she found that after one month

of training, the experimental group improved significantly

in its use of imaginative play, as well as, in the expres-

sion of positive affect and increased concentration in play.

The control group remained unchanged. The changes in the

experimental group continued post-training, and were tested

during two months of post-training observations.

Gottlieb (1973) also explored the modifiability of

imaginative play. Noting the decrease of overt manifesta-

tions of make-believe between the ages of 6 or 7 and 12,

she chose to use two age groups as subjects: 10 to 12 and

12 1/2 to 14 years. She was interested in exploring the

difference in fantasy behavior at the two age levels, and

its modifiability given a high or low fantasy predisposi-

tion. She found that expression of fantasy was increased

for young children with exposure to an adult model. Junior

high school age subjects' responses were more directly re-

lated to their imaginative play predisposition, rather than

modeling effects, i.e., they responded more in terms of

their personality attributes. She concluded that imagin-

ative behavior increases with age and as such it can be

concluded that it is a skill that develops with

differentiation, that there are age trends in ability to

engage in fantasy and in the content of fantasy as well.

The evidence for imaginative play predisposition sup-

ports that there are differences between low and high fan-

tasy predisposed individuals, that there are overt behav-

ioral and personality differences. The behaviors related

to fantasy appear to be modifiable given different environ-

ment variables.

The above mentioned studies explore a variety of di-

rections regarding imaginative play. It is important at

this point to note, how if at all, they contribute to the

theoretical basis of play behavior. Singer's (1973) study

most directly explores theoretical concerns by addressing

the defensive patterns utilized by the high and low imag-

inative play predisposed children. His finding that high

imaginative play predisposed children utilize more obses-

sional defense mechanisms supports the hypothesis that this

imaginative process may be related to the obsessional de-

fense mechanism, which in turn leads to the development of

an obsessional personality style. The other issues he ad-

dresses regarding parent-child relationships, waiting be-

havior and creativity do not directly address theoretical

issues. Rather they provide information regarding behavior

to which imaginative play predisposition may be related.

Pulaski's (1973) study focuses more on description of

imaginative play in response to the stimulus of different

toys. This study describes differential behavioral re-

sponses to play materials rather than directly providing

support for theoretical questions.

Biblow's (1973) study, in contrast to Pulaski's (1973)

work, more directly explored theoretical issues. The

cathartic theory of aggression from a psychoanalytic basis

hypothesizes that fantasy operates to lower aggression.

His data supported that hypothesis by establishing that

high imaginative play subjects utilized fantasy to reduce

aggression. This provides data regarding the utility of

imaginative play as a mechanism to reduce conflict.

Freyburg (1973) and Gottlieb's (1973) works both exam-

ine the modifiability of imaginative play. Again as with

Pulaski's work, these studies provide information regarding

the parameters of imaginative play but little direct support

for theoretical conceptualization. Studies in imaginative

play to date have served two useful and complimentary func-

tions: empirical support for certain aspects of theoret-

ical conceptualizations and description of the parameters

of imaginative play.

Relationship of Play Behavior and Playfulness

Singer (1973) and Lieberman (1977) have both addressed

the tendency toward play in children. Singer (1973) sug-

gests that the tendency to engage in imaginative play, fan-

tasied role shifting or daydreaming may be looked upon as a

particular skill that can be developed in a given child as

a consequence of the interaction between constitutional

capacities with a particular set of early environmental cir-

cumstances that provide encouragement for practice. This

tendency or trait in the individual has been addressed by

Lieberman (1977) in her construct of playfulness.

Lieberman (1964, 1977) examines a core of personality

traits which she labels playfulness. Playfulness can be

seen as an element in play, imagination and creativity.

She postulates that there is a developmental continuity of

playfulness as a behavior and that playfulness survives

play and becomes a personality trait of the individual.

She notes that playfulness is made up of spontaneity, man-

ifest joy and a sense of humor. Playfulness can be seen in

the perspective of a qualitative aspect of play.

The theoretical underpinnings to Lieberman's (1964)

work are less clear cut than Singer's work. Essentially,

Lieberman's work attempts to address qualitative aspects

of behavior rather than a discrete behavioral process that

can be identified as evident or lacking. Playfulness is

descriptive of the content of play behavior, as opposed to

the structure of play, e.g., Singer (1973) imaginative play.

Theoretically it is unclear what function playfulness serves.

Playfulness is an expressive dimension of play behavior

rather than a mechanism of play behavior.

Qualitative aspects of play have received less atten-

tion in the psychological investigation of play. Huizinga

(1955) refers to the play spirit. Joy, fun, pretend, and

nonseriousness are key words in his conceptualization of

play. While the fun element is seen as the part of play

that resists logical analysis, it is at the same time re-

garded as characterizing the essence of play. Perhaps to

the extent that play behavior is more or less playful, i.e.,

has more or less spontaneity, joy and humor in it, it is

more closely related to the quintessence of play.

How an individual child plays in relation to environ-

ment incorporates theoretically the playful component of

play noted by Piaget (1932, 1962) and White (1960, 1964).

This is the enjoyment or pleasurable component of play

noted by Piaget (1962). White (1964) articulates this as

fun, the inherent satisfaction of play behavior. This is

a key aspect of how the clinician looks at play. It is the

deviation from the play spirit which is important.

Moustakas (1955) reports on play therapy with normal chil-

dren. He notes that these children are happy, often singing

and humming, and in their actions they are both more deci-

sive and spontaneous than disturbed children. Hartley,

Frank, and Goldenson (1952) found in nursery-school children

that well-adjusted children played as enthusiastically as

the troubled youngsters, but their delight in toys was


Developmental psychologists have also referred to the

qualitative aspects of play. For example, Piaget (1962)

distinguishes playful from imitative behavior and describes

it as a process whereby the child incorporates external ob-

jects into his own thought schemata in a joyful manner.

Hunt (1961) finds function pleasure in play as a quality

that frequently accompanies learning as a result of aimless


Playfulness emerged from observational studies of how

children play (Lieberman, 1977). In an effort to examine

theoretically complex behavior she defined operationally

playfulness as physical, social, and cognitive spontaneity,

manifest joy and sense of humor. Within the framework of

play, it was seen as a quality of play. These operational

definitions of the qualitative aspects of play represent

the first step in providing an adequate empirical investi-

gation of playfulness. It is readily apparent that the

theoretical underpinnings for the construct are more so-

phisticated than the operational definitions based on loose-

ly defined behavioral observations. The playfulness con-

struct is an ambitious attempt to operationalize the ex-

pressive content of play behavior. Both psychoanalytic

theory and cognitive theories have more directly addressed

the functional and structural aspects of play behavior

while alluding to the qualitative or expressive dimensions

of this behavior. What Lieberman (1964) is attempting to

provide is a perspective of the content of play behavior:

social, cognitive and affective. In light of this, how-

ever, this is the best methodological exploration to emerge

out of the theoretical speculation.

Lieberman (1964, 1977) has examined playfulness at

two age levels: kindergarteners and adolescents. The re-

search on kindergarteners investigated the relationship be-

tween playfulness and divergent thinking. Utilizing mid-

dle-class children attending private kindergartens, she

found that there was a unitary trait called playfulness

composed of five dimensions: physical, cognitive, and so-

cial spontaneity, manifest joy and a sense of humor. The

relationship between divergent thinking and playfulness was

not so clear. But a clear relationship between playfulness

and ideational fluency and spontaneous flexibility (two as-

pects of divergent thinking) was found. The strongest re-

lationship was between ideational fluency and playfulness.

The adolescent study looked at high school students,

noting that there is a resurgence of the joyful-spontaneity-

sense of humor syndrome during adolescence and that this be-

havior syndrome is related to cognitive style (Lieberman,

1977). Preliminary results yield a more complex picture

for adolescents than kindergarteners. It is not clear

whether or not there is a "pure" playfulness factor for

adolescents. The research was conducted in a classroom be-

havior of intellectual commitment which is not consonant

with the bubbling effervescence of playfulness. Some pre-

liminary work is currently being done on a college age


From the work of Singer (1973) and others (Biblow,

1973; Freyburg, 1973; Gottlieb, 1973; Pulaski, 1973) there

appears to be evidence for high and low imaginative play

predisposed individuals. In addition, the work of Lieber-

man (1964) provides evidence for a playfulness trait in

children. In order to further describe these behavioral

traits it is necessary to expand the existing data base,

i.e., to replicate the findings on a broader data base as

well as explore the relationships between these traits.

The present study explores the relationships between

imaginative play, playfulness, and ideational fluency.

Ideational fluency was chosen as an effort to replicate

Lieberman's (1964) findings and to provide further data as

to the structure of the cognitive aspect of imaginative


Qualities frequently noted in children's play are its

imaginative scope and creative power (Lieberman, 1964).

There has been, however, little research done on young chil-

dren in regard to this creativity. In their initial work on

creative thinking in adults, Guilford et al. (1951) hypoth-

esized eight abilities that might "discover the individual

who is potentially creative." Among these eight was idea-

tional fluency. This is the calling up of ideas in

situations demanding relatively little restriction, the

difference in scores being more a function of the number

of ideas produced than the quality, degree of appropriate-

ness, or the aptness of expression of the ideas (Guilford,

et al., 1956).

While Guilford was refining his factors looking at

adults, Torrance (1960) and his associates used his con-

ceptual framework and an adaptation of his tests to exam-

ine creative thinking in children. The Minnesota research

team was able to develop batteries of nonverbal and verbal

creative thinking tasks. One of the constructs which could

be meaningfully scored was ideational fluency. The purpose

behind these studies was to provide a description of and a

means of testing creative potential.

The present study grew out of several considerations.

There exists extensive and sophisticated theoretical formu-

lations regarding play behavior. The empirical support for

these theories is wide ranging, divergent, and methodolog-

ically poorly developed. Rather than develop new constructs

and instruments to measure them, it seemed more useful to

work with currently defined constructs which overlapped

theoretically. Relationships between playfulness and imag-

inative play predisposition would provide information re-

garding both the structure and the content of play behavior.

While recognizing the methodologies as first steps in oper-

ationalizing complex phenomena, working with these

methodologies to explore their utility is an appropriate

investigation. If in fact the constructs address similar

aspects of behavior, as their theoretical bases suggest,

then establishing empirical relationships could provide

new directions for empirical and theoretical work in play.

The evidence for playfulness, imaginative play predispo-

sition and ideational fluency has been limited to homogen-

eous samples: middle class urban children. In an effort

to expand this data base it seemed desirable to replicate

the data on a less homogeneous sample.


Hypotheses 1 and 2

Based on both psychoanalytic and cognitive theoretical

conceptualizations of play behavior, Singer (1973) has op-

erationally defined imaginative play behavior as an aspect

of play behavior which encompasses the ability to inject an

"as if" component into play. Utilizing the methodology de-

veloped by Singer (1973), as well as the Holtzman Inkblot

Test It is hypothesized that the evidence for high and low

imaginative play predisposed individuals can be replicated

on an heterogeneous SES sample of kindergarten and first

grade children. It is further hypothesized that a more

appropriate scoring technique for the Holtzman Inkblot Test

utilizes Human plus Movement responses.

Hypothesis 3

Lieberman (1964) has operationally defined the con-

struct playfulness to address the qualitative aspects of

play behavior based on observations of children's behavior.

Utilizing the methodology developed by Lieberman (1964),

it is hypothesized that the evidence for a playfulness as-

pect of behavior can be replicated on a SES heterogeneous

sample of kindergarten and first grade children.

Hypothesis 4

Ideational Fluency, developed by Guilford (1951) as

an aspect of creative thinking in adults, was expanded on

by Torrance (1960) to explore creative thinking in chil-

dren. Utilizing Lieberman's (1964) methodology for kinder-

garten children, it is hypothesized that the evidence for

ideational fluency can be replicated on an heterogeneous

SES sample of kindergarten and first grade children.

Hypotheses 5 and 6

Given the theoretical overlap of imaginative play pre-

disposition and playfulness it is hypothesized that these

two constructs are highly related in kindergarten and first

grade children. High imaginative play predisposed children

likewise should demonstrate behavior rich in the quality

dimension of playfulness. It is further hypothesized that

the subcomponent of cognitive spontaneity in playfulness

will have the greatest relationship to imaginative play pre-

disposition, as it most directly examines imagination.


Hypothesis 7

In addition, it is hypothesized that ideational flu-

ency is related to both playfulness and imaginative play

predisposition in this sample of kindergarten and first

grade children.


Selection of the Population

The kindergarten-first grade classes of the P.K. Yonge

Laboratory School of the University of Florida were selected

for the study. Due to its relationship with the University

of Florida the students are accustomed to a variety of in-

terruptions in their normal school day whether it be for

experimental purposes or special observers or visitors. It

was felt, therefore, that there would be fewer effects in-

troduced by the experimental intervention per se as this

is seen as "normal" in this school. In addition, as the

school selects its population to reflect five SES levels of

the community and a heterogeneous population was desirable,

the population was ideal.

There were four combined kindergarten-first grade

classes. Arrangements were made with each of the four

teachers to gain her cooperation and interest in the study.

Essentially all the Caucasian students were utilized to

provide a balanced sample for sex and SES level.


Eighty kindergarten and first grade children attending

the P.K. Yonge Laboratory School of the University of Flor-

ida were selected. There were 40 females and 40 males.

One male child moved during the data collection period re-

sulting in a total sample of 79, 40 female and 39 male. All

subjects were Caucasian and participating in the regular

class program.

The population attending P.K. Yonge School is drawn

equally from five SES levels in a semi-urban population.

The students are selected for P.I. Yonge Laboratory School

to reflect both the ethnic and SES composition of the com-

munity. The five SES levels are as follows: Level I in-

come--<$6,000, Level II--$6,000 $10,499, Level III--

$10,500 $14,499, Level IV--$15,000 $20,999, Level V--


All subjects were of at least normal intelligence as

measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. The IQ

range was from 91 162, with the mean IQ 113.


Thursday or Friday of the week prior to the data collec-

tion the experimenter visited the classroom for the day This

enabled the experimenters to become more familiar with the

classes' daily routine and physical layout. The experiment-

ers consisted of two senior undergraduate psychology majors

in addition to the primary investigator. The primary in-

vestigator collected data from two classrooms, the other

experimenters each collected data from one classroom.

Each of the four classrooms had one experimenter for

the period of one week. Each subject accompanied the ex-

perimenter to a small workroom adjacent to the classroom

for three separate testing sessions. Each session ranged

from 15-30 minutes. Each of the three sessions comprised

one aspect of the evaluation. The experimental condition

was broken down into three sessions to accommodate the

child's attention span. Session A consisted of the Pea-

body Picture Vocabulary Test; Session B consisted of the

ideational fluency tasks and the Imaginative Play Predis-

position Interview; Session C consisted of the Holtzman

Inkblot Test. The experimental tasks were presented to the

subject in a randomized sequence to account for order ef-

fects. All of the subjects in one classroom were processed

in one week, except for circumstances of school absence.

No two sets of evaluation instruments were administered in

one day.

Concurrent with the experimenter's data collection

from the students was data collection from the teachers.

Initially the primary investigator met with the teachers

to discuss the Playfulness Rating Scales, to explain the

instructions and to answer any questions. A copy of the

rating scale was left with the teachers. They were asked

to keep the rating scale in mind as they observed their

students for 2 weeks. A second session with the experi-

menter was held to further discuss the rating scale and to

answer questions. The teachers were then asked to rate the


Means of Evaluation

Evaluation instruments for this study covered three

defined areas of inquiry: ideational fluency, playfulness

and imaginative play predisposition. In addition, a stan-

dardized picture vocabulary test was used to estimate in-


Ideational fluency was examined utilizing two tasks:

(a) Product Improvement Task, and (b) The Monroe Language

Classification Test. A description of the tests is as fol-

lows. The Product Improvement Task is a two part test.

For Part I the subject was presented with a stuffed dog made

of brown plush material, approximately 7 inches long. The

dog had button eyes, a button black nose, a red tongue and

a red ribbon around its neck. The following instructions

were given:

Well, what have we here. It is a toy dog.
Now you tell me the most interesting, clev-
erest ways by which you can change this dog
(or: make him different) so that you and
other children would have more fun playing
with it. You just tell me how and I'll
write down your ideas.

The subject's responses were recorded for 1 minute 30 sec-

onds. For Part II the subject was presented with a cloth

doll, McCalls Pattern #5724. The doll was approximately

11 inches long with brown yarn hair and a blue denim shirt

and pants. The following instructions were given:

What else do we have here? It's a doll. Now
you go ahead and tell me the most interesting
and cleverest ways by which you can change
this doll so that it will be more fun to play

The subject's responses were recorded for 1 minute 30 sec-

onds. See Appendix A for the tasks.

The Monroe Language Classification Test was a three

part test. The subject was given the following instruc-

tions: "Now this is the last thing we're going to do."

"Tell me all the animals you can think of as quickly as you

can." "Tell me all the things to eat you can think of."

"Tell me all the toys you can think of." Responses for

each category were recorded in a 1 minute 30 second time

block. See Appendix A for the tasks.

The Product Improvement task and the Monroe Language

Classification Test were developed and/or adapted by Lieber-

man (1964) in her work on divergent thinking in kindergarten

children. Ideational fluency, an aspect of divergent think-

ing, was selected to be examined in this study as it yielded

the results of greatest significance in her work. Lieber-

man (1964) utilized the following criteria for development

of her instruments: (a) applicability of existing tests,

or of specially constructed tests modeled after existing

tests, at the kindergarten level; (b) evidence for validity

and reliability of these tests from a pilot study for her

initial research project and from the existing literature.

Based on the work by Guilford (1951) and Torrance

(1960) on creative thinking and Gewirtz (1948) and Meyers

(1962) on verbal fluency in young children, Lieberman

(1964) developed the following tasks: Product Improvement,

Guilford's Plot Titles, and the Monroe Language Classifica-

tion Test. From the Monroe Test the objects selected were

Animals, Things to Eat, and Toys. The child was asked to

list as many as he could think of. The tasks are included

in Appendix A.

Validation and Reliability of the Tests

Lieberman's (1964) final selection of the tests was

made after a pilot study with 14 subjects attending a pri-

vate kindergarten in New York City. The age range was from

4-6 to 6-3 years, the average being 5-0 years. Meaningful

scores were obtained for ideational fluency from all three

tests. She noted that teacher conferences provided a pre-

liminary validity check since the children who scored high

on the divergent thinking factors were judged creative by

the teachers.

Lieberman developed a special scoring guide for the

ideational fluency tasks (1964). (See Appendix B.) As far

as possible, the rationale was modeled after existing tests

by Torrance and Guilford. The introduction of the new prod-

uct, namely the doll and the original text of the stories,

called for specific guidelines for the answers obtained.

Interscorer reliability for the divergent thinking scores

was established in the Lieberman study on a sample of 20

records. The Pearson r's were .99 for ideational fluency

on all three tasks.

Data on Validity from the Literature

The evidence about the tasks measuring ideational flu-

ency is as follows. (a) For Product Improvement Torrance

(1960) claimed face validity and gave scoring categories on

the basis of a sample of 146 elementary school children,

grades 1-6. (b) Analysis of the Monroe Language Classifi-

cation Test showed a factor loading of ideational fluency

(Meyers et al., 1962) and comparable tests of object naming

also showed loadings on ideational fluency (Bereiter, 1961;

Guilford & Christensen, 1956).

Data on Reliability from the Literature

For the Product Improvement Task Torrance (1960) men-

tioned the interchangeability of a toy monkey with the toy

dog and cited interscorer reliability in the .80's, hence

the selection of a dog in Lieberman (1964). Meyers et al.

(1962) reported a reliability of .62 based on intercorrela-

tions of the three parts for the Monroe Language Classifi-

cation Test (Animals, Toys, Things to Eat).

The Playfulness Scale

Playfulness was evaluated utilizing the Playfulness

Scale developed by Lieberman (1964). (See Appendix C.)

This scale consists of five subscales corresponding to the

five behavior traits of physical spontaneity, manifest joy,

sense of humor, social spontaneity, and cognitive spontane-

ity. Each scale is divided into an A and B part, referring

to the quantity and quality of the trait measured. These

subdivisions were made in order not to contaminate frequency

with degree or intensity of the trait measured. It was

found that the further refinement was considered helpful to

the raters (Lieberman, 1962). The division also indicated

no prior assumption that quantity and quality were related.

Ratings are made on a five point scale. Descriptive labels

for the points on the scale are given, as are sample behav-

ior items for each trait to be rated. The format of the

scale was modeled after Beller's (1955) instrument for as-

sessing dependence, independence and aggression in young

children through teacher ratings (Lieberman, 1964). As a

check on validity, Lieberman (1964) included two questions

not related to the behavior indices for playfulness. These

scales asked for an evaluation of the child's intelligence

and his physical attractiveness.

Reliability coefficients, obtained from the ratings of

the two teachers for the five traits and considered quali-

tatively and quantitatively, ranged with a Spearman-Brown

correction from .66 to .86 with a mean of .70 (Lieberman,

1964). Intercorrelations between the playfulness traits

ranged from .61 between sense of humor and physical spon-

taneity to .86 between manifest joy and cognitive spontane-

ity (Lieberman, 1964). When centroid factors were ex-

tracted, four of the five playfulness traits (cognitive

spontaneity, social spontaneity, manifest joy, sense of hu-

mor) had loadings in the middle .80's on the first factor.

Physical spontaneity had a loading of .78. Factors 2 and 3

accounted for little of the variance with factor loadings

ranging from .092 to .379. Lieberman (1964) concluded from

this that Playfulness could be conceptualized as a unitary


The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test

This test is an individual intelligence test for ages

2 1/2 to 18 years. It is designed to provide a well stan-

dardized estimate of a subject's verbal intelligence (Dunn,

1965). This test was chosen for its ease of administration

and previously noted appropriateness (Lieberman, 1964). As

an instrument using verbal stimuli and nonverbal responses,

it aims at an assessment of verbal comprehension and learned

information. It is, therefore, considered sufficiently dif-

ferent to provide some control measure for the scores on the

ideational fluency tasks (Lieberman, 1964). Also testing

time is short, which is an important consideration for use

with kindergarteners.

The test consists of 150 plates. Each plate has four

well drawn and unambiguous pictures from which the subject

is asked to choose one response to the examiner's question.

The subject need only point. The score is the number of

correct answers. The manual suggests starting points for

different age levels.

With respect to the difficulties experienced with mea-

sures of intelligence below age 6, the evidence cited for

validity and reliability can be considered satisfactory. A

correlation of .79 with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for

Children has been obtained for a group of above average

elementary school children. Reliability coefficients are

given by age level and are .73 and .67 for ages 5 and 6,

respectively (Dunn, 1965).

Measuring Imaginative Play Predisposition

Singer (1973) notes that a major effort aimed at ar-

ticulating more precisely what goes into imaginative tenden-

cies in children and adults has grown out of the use of pro-

jective techniques. Projective techniques utilize the

the presentation of relatively ambiguous stimuli to indi-

viduals who are then required to tell stories about pic-

tures or to give associations to abstract inkblots, etc.

These ambiguous testing instruments were developed in an

effort to provide behavioral assessment of underlying in-

clinations. Singer (1968) views projective techniques as a

method to tap ongoing behavioral tendencies in the individ-

ual. The use of projective methods for studying imagination

has generally involved what the content reveals about spe-

cific conflict areas, as can be seen from the widespread

use of the Thematic Apperception Test or various forms of

association tests (Singer, 1973). A different approach has

developed using the Rorschach Inkblot Method. Rorschach

(1942) provided a major insight by noting that the tendency

to produce movement or color responses when looking at the

inkblots tapped not so much the specific content of con-

flicts or needs, but rather measured a broad trend toward

reliance on imagination or an open expression of emotional-

ity as a major tendency (Singer, 1973). Rorschach proposed

that all human experience could be measured along an intro-

version-extratension dimension and that the ratio of the

human movement (M) responses in inkblots to the color re-

sponses in producing associations was a fundamental way of

tapping this predisposition (Rorschach, 1942). On the whole,

there seems to be considerable support in research for at

least some aspects of Rorschach's interpretation of the

human movement responses as a measure of imaginativeness in

both children and adults (Singer, 1960, 1968, 1973). Singer

(1973) links the development of the human movement (M) re-

sponse to the internalization of speech in the form of

heightened imagery and fantasy. This provides the basis for

the choice of the inkblot method as one approach to estimat-

ing imaginative predisposition to play. Normative data with

the original set of Rorschach inkblots indicate that chil-

dren show relatively few such movement responses before the

age of 6 or 7 (Ames et al., 1974). It was necessary, then,

to find another technique appropriate to a younger popula-

tion. The Holtzman Inkblot Test (Holtzman, 1961), however,

provides useful norms on performance of children as young

as 5 years. The data from the Holtzman Inkblots strongly

support the importance of the movement response as an index

of ideational tendencies (Singer, 1973).

The Holtzman Inkblots were developed in an attempt to

provide a projective technique with psychometrically sound

scoring procedures for responses to inkblots while also pre-

serving the rich qualitative projective material of the

Rorschach (Holtzman et al., 1961). The Holtzman Inkblots

consist of 47 cards (45 are utilized in the score, 2 are

practice cards). The subject is required to provide one

response to each card. The cards are then scored, utilizing

a standard format. Various studies have examined the com-

parability of the Holtzman Inkblot responses and the

Rorschach Inkblot responses. Most of the recognized

Rorschach responses can be reproduced by configural scoring

utilizing the basic elements coded in the Holtzman technique

(Holtzman et al., 1961). Haggard, cited in Holtzman (Holtz-

man et al., 1961), utilizing multivariate analysis, found

significant correlations across eight scores in the responses

of high school students. Important to note is that the move-

ment response was one of the eight scores examined. Holtz-

man et al. (1961) conclude that these results indicate quite

conclusively that the Rorshach and Holtzman systems have a

great deal in common as far as the underlying meaning of

their respective variables is concerned. Holtzman et al.

(1961) provide an equivalency table for converting movement

(M) responses according to the Klopfer method of Rorschach

scores as Holtzman Inkblot scores of M>l plus H>1.

Biblow (1973) utilized the Holtzman Inkblots to deter-

mine imaginative predisposition with fifth grade children.

Utilizing the blots, fantasy level was determined upon the

basis of the score for movement responses to 20 selected

cards. Gottlieb (1973) also utilized the movement (M) score

on one-half of the Holtzman Inkblots, Form A, with elemen-

tary school and junior high school age children, as an as-

pect of imaginative predisposition evaluation.

The movement (M) response on the Holtzman blots is

scored for inanimate, as well as animate, movement.

Rorschach (1942), however, stated that movement (M)

responses applied only to human or animal (animate) move-

ment. In an effort to examine the introversive elements

articulated by Rorschach as related to imagination in the

individual, this study examines different combinations of

scores of the Holtzman blots: M scores alone and M>1 plus


The odd-numbered cards, Form A, of the Holtzman Ink-

blots were used in this study. Odd-even reliability coef-

ficients for the procedure were sufficient to utilize one-

half of the instrument to allow for the kindergarteners'

limited attention span. The correlation coefficients for

each of the responses for the 5 year old population are as

follows: Movement (M) .80, Human (H) .79.

Singer has developed an interview for assessing imag-

inative play predisposition (Singer, 1973). (See Appendix

D.) He has noted that it is possible to get adequate data

from children as young as kindergarten age. The questions

are as follows: (a) What is your favorite game? What do

you like to play the most? (b) What game do you like to

play best when you are all alone? What do you like to do

best when you are all alone? (c) Do you ever have pictures

in your head? Do you ever see make-believe things with pic-

tures in your mind or think about them? What sort of

things? (d) Do you have a make-believe friend? Do you

have an animal or toy or make-believe person you talk to

or take along with you? Did you ever have one, even though

you don't any more?

The key in scoring these items has to do with the de-

gree to which the child's report indicates the introduction

of symbolic play or make-believe. The questionnaire was

scored on a five point scale (range 0 4 positive imagin-

ative responses). Singer (1973) notes that most children

do not receive a score higher than 2 or 3. He concludes

that scores of 0 1 indicate low imaginative play predis-

position, while scores of 2 or more indicate high imagina-

tive play predisposition.


Inter-rater Reliability

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test was scored accord-

ing to manual instructions, and the subjects received an IQ


The Monroe Language Classification Test was scored

blind by three raters. Two raters were senior undergrad-

uate psychology majors; one rater was a first year graduate

student in clinical psychology. The raters participated in

a training session with the primary investigator. The rat-

ers then independently rated all the protocols. Inter-rater

reliability was established utilizing a Spearman Correla-

tion Coefficient. For the Monroe Language Classification

Test inter-rater reliability for the three raters was as

follows: r = .99, r = .97, r = .97.

The Imaginative Play Predisposition Interview responses

were scored blind following the same procedures as described

for the Monroe Language Classification Test. Inter-rater

reliability was established utilizing the Spearman Correla-

tion Coefficient. Inter-rater reliability for the Imagina-

tive Play Predisposition Interview was as follows: r = .80,

r = .83, r = .82.

The Product Improvement Task was rated by two senior

undergraduate psychology majors. The procedure for rating

was described above for the Monroe Language Classification

Test. Inter-rater reliability was established utilizing

the Spearman Correlation Coefficient. The inter-rater re-

liability was r = .96.

The Holtzman Inkblot Tests were scored by three ad-

vanced graduate students in clinical psychology who had ex-

perience in administering and scoring projective tests and

one less advanced graduate student in clinical psychology.

Each rater participated in a training session with the pri-

mary investigator to learn how to score the Holtzman blots

for human and movement responses. Each rater then scored

approximately 20 protocols (one rater scored 19). The pri-

mary investigator served as a standard with which the

raters' scores were compared for inter-rater reliability.

Four of the protocols were randomly selected for comparison

as follows. Each rater scored five protocols and one was

randomly selected for comparison prior to completing the

remaining protocols. The standard then independently rated

the target protocol. Differences in scoring were discussed

but the scoring was unchanged. This procedure was followed

until all the protocols were completed. A Tau B was uti-

lized for calculating inter-rater reliability. Reliabil-

ities were as follows:

Rater 1 Human Responses T = .94
Movement Responses T = .86

Rater 2 Human Responses T = .83
Movement Responses T = .99

Rater 3 Human Responses T = .72
Movement Responses T = .90

Rater 4 Human Responses T = .88
Movement Responses T = .93

It was hypothesized that there would be significant re-

lationships between imaginative play predisposition and

playfulness, with the relationship between the subitem cog-

nitive spontaneity and imaginative play predisposition as

most notable. In fact, the only relationships of signifi-

cance generated by the regression equations were between

cognitive spontaneity and imaginative play predisposition.

Imaginative play predisposition measured by the Singer in-

terview plus Holtzman movement score was significant at the

.005 level with the quantitative index for cognitive spon-

taneity. The slope of the regression was negative. Imag-

inative play predisposition as measured by the Singer inter-

view plus Holtzman movement response was significant at the

.05 level with the qualitative index for cognitive spontane-

ity. The slope of the regression was positive. Imaginative

play predisposition as measured by the Singer interview plus

the Holtzman movement plus human response was significantly

related to the quantitative index for playfulness. The

slope of the regression was negative.

There was no evidence for a significant relationship

between ideational fluency and playfulness.

Hypotheses I and II

Measuring Imaginative Play Predisposition

With respect to the interview task designed by Singer,

he suggests that frequency of high (2 or greater) and low

(0 1) imaginative play predisposition would be evenly

divided in a normal population. In this study the sample

was divided approximately in half (38 high, 49 low) with

the high imaginative play predisposition defined as a score

of 2 or greater and the low imaginative play predisposition

defined as a score of 0 or 1. (See Table 1 for distribu-

tion of scores.) Imaginative play predisposition was re-

lated to sex in this sample. Females scored higher than

males (F<.01).

Another question raised by this study was the appropri-

ate scoring technique for the Holtzman Inkblot Test. Spear-

man Correlation Coefficient for the relationship between the

movement responses alone and the combination human plus

movement responses was r = .78, suggesting that at this age

the responses are essentially the same. The relationship be-

tween the imaginative play predisposition and the Holtzman

movement responses was r = .14 and the imaginative play pre-

disposition and Holtzman human plus movement responses


R = .22; neither relationship was significant. This lack

of correlation suggests that the Imaginative Play Predis-

position Interview and the Holtzman Inkblot Test may still

be aspects of the complex phenomenon of imaginative play

predisposition but are clearly not measuring the same com-

ponents. For the purposes of this study both types of scor-

ing were examined in a linear regression model to examine

relationships between the Holtzman Inkblot score and the

other variables. Both movement and movement plus human re-

sponses were positively related to age: imaginative play

predisposition, movement alone: F<.O1; imaginative play

predisposition, movement plus human response: F<.005. This

would suggest that the older the child the higher the score

on the Holtzman task. This would confirm developmental

trends noted by Holtzman (cited in Hill, 1972). Others have

suggested (Ames et al., 1974) that this developmental trend

is evident in Rorschach movement (M) responses as well. This

introspective aspect of development does perhaps develop

over time. When the interview score and the Holtzman Ink-

blot score were combined it also reflected the relationship

to age: imaginative play predisposition, Holtzman movement

along/age: F<.005; imaginative play predisposition, Holtz-

man movement plus human response/age: F<.001. This may

suggest that the age effect in the Holtzman score is so

strong that the combined imaginative play predisposition is

age related. Imaginative Play Predisposition scores without


the Holtzman component were not age related. Singer (1966),

however, suggests that this trait is not age related but

rather is a quantifiable entity within an individual, which

may show development over time but should not directly be

affected by age. This raises some interesting questions.

If indeed, as Singer suggests, there is an imaginative play

predisposition and it can be measured by his interview task

without age demonstrating a clear relationship then the

utility of including the Holtzman measure with its strong

relationship to age is questionable. It would seem that

adding this measure, although hypothesized theoretically as

a component of imaginative play predisposition, is so af-

fected by developmental trends as to perhaps eliminate or

confound the true imaginative play predisposition. On the

other hand one could question whether or not this is an

artifact of the age range examined. The frequency of move-

ment (M) responses shows more marked change in these years

than at other ages. In Holtzman's normative data cited in

Hill (1972), 5 year olds at the 48th percentile generated

a raw score of 9; first graders at the 50th percentile gen-

erated a raw score of 14. Norms on fourth graders reflected

a raw score of 24 at the 50th percentile which was equiva-

lent to percentile norms for the average adult population.

This could indicate that the Holtzman Inkblot Test for a

younger population is too heavily affected by developmental

trends to serve as an adequate measure of imaginative play

predisposition for these early years. The Holtzman task,

however, was selected as it seemed more appropriate than a

Rorschach at these early years. A more suitable method of

examining imaginative play predisposition needs to be de-

veloped for these early years.

Hypothesis III

Measuring Playfulness

Lieberman's (1964) scale measures five separate aspects

of playfulness on both a quality and quantity dimension.

Each subdivision--physical spontaneity, manifest joy, social

spontaneity, cognitive spontaneity--can receive a rating

from 1 to 5 for each (quality, quantity). A child's com-

bined quality of playfulness score, therefore, has the range

of 5 25. A child's combined quantity of playfulness score

has the range of 10 50 (quality + quantity). In this

sample the playfulness scores did not distribute themselves

adequately over the range to reflect both high and low play-

fulness scores. Over 50% (n=58) received scores of 36 or

greater. As can be seen in Table 3 the sample reflected al-

most no children with low playfulness scores. When the

scores were broken down by SES levels (see Table 4) it can

be seen that this trend was evident in all SES levels.

The finding of high playfulness scores raises some in-

teresting questions. Utilizing Lieberman's instrument it

is evident that Lieberman's (1964) results were replicated.

As Lieberman's (1964) sample also reflected a high playful-

ness bias. The teachers were able, in rating the children,

to utilize all five points on each of the subdivisions (some

students did receive scores less than 3); however, the ma-

jority of students received scores of 3 or greater on all

the subdivisions. Two of the teachers were able to utilize

all five points on the Lieberman scale. The remaining two

teachers utilized four out of the five points on the Lieber-

man scale. Tables 5-8 illustrate the four teachers' ratings.

The playfulness rating scale requires further examination

on more samples of children before playfulness as a con-

struct can be further explored.

Hypothesis IV

Measuring Ideational Fluency

Scores were obtained in a distribution which ranged

from low to high for ideational fluency. The point range,

however, was so limited as to raise questions as to the

utility of the methodology for further research. With a

range of scores found in this population from 1 to 38, over

50% of the population (n=44) scored in the middle range from

the scores of 16 25. With a restricted scoring range of

less than 40 points, a majority of scores within the range

of 9 points makes it difficult to utilize the instruments

as designed by Lieberman (1964). (See Table 9.) In order

to measure the construct of ideational fluency more effec-

tively tasks need to be designed which better discriminate

between the high and low dimensions of ideational fluency.

Hypothesis V, VI and VII

It was proposed that given the possibility of measur-

ing the three constructs adequately ideationall fluency,

imaginative play predisposition, playfulness) comparisons

between scores on each of the three would yield significant

relationships. It was suggested that high scores on playful-

ness would be related to high scores on imaginative play

predisposition and ideational fluency. This was suggested

given the theoretical underpinnings of the constructs. Due

to the limited range of scores on the ideational fluency

instruments and the difficulty in establishing any subjects

in the low range of playfulness, regression functions gen-

erated few significant relationships between imaginative

play predisposition, playfulness and ideational fluency.

In order to further examine the lack of significant re-

lationships between imaginative play and playfulness, the

top twenty imaginative play scores and the lowest twenty

imaginative play scores were examined in relationship to

their corresponding playfulness scores (See Table 10 and

11). It was hoped that by examining this subsample of the

population some further information might be gained regard-

ing the relationship between imaginative play and

playfulness. The score utilized to determine imaginative

play was the combined interview and Holtzman movement plus

human response. A low imaginative play response was de-

fined as <4; a high imaginative play score was defined as

>17. Graphs were plotted comparing imaginative play to a

total playfulness score, a combined playfulness quantity

score, a combined playfulness quality score, as well as

each of the ten components of the combined scores. There

were no apparent differences in the distributions. In sum-

mary, the only significant relationships generated by the

regression equations were between imaginative play predis-

position and cognitive spontaneity.


Extensive theoretical work and research in play behav-

ior in children has generated a vast and less than cohesive

body of literature. Although play behavior has aroused the

interest of many, there is neither a cohesive theory nor an

adequate methodology to tackle this complex behavior in

human children. One difficulty has been the fact that our

theorizing has extended beyond adequate empirical data to

support it. Another difficulty has been the diversity of

approaches to the problem. Investigators have tended to

follow their own isolated routes of inquiry without compar-

ing their work. Rather than being able to compare and con-

trast constructs, new ones are formed. This study attempted

to provide empirical data to support two current constructs

and theoretical perspectives within play behavior. Second,

it attempted to compare two different approaches to play

behavior in an effort to generate some unity in theoretical


The first task, that of providing empirical support

to two current theoretical constructs in the current lit-

erature, met with variable outcome. Jerome Singer's (1973)

work on imaginative play predisposition is a relatively

recent contribution to theoretical conceptualization of

the role of imaginative play behavior in the development

of the individual. This study, by demonstrating that

imaginative play predisposition can be measured utilizing

Singer's interview technique in a SES heterogeneous pop-

ulation of kindergarten and first graders, yields greater

validity to the construct as well as reliability for the

instrument with this population. The questions raised

regarding the utility of the Holtzman Inkblot Test with

this population are equally important. Given the high

relationship between age/developmental factors and the

resultant Holtzman Inkblot scores, one is inclined to

doubt the utility of the instrument for this population

in studying imaginative play predisposition. Furthermore,

if imaginative play predisposition is a quasi-personality

trait or an aspect of personality development as Singer

postulates, then one is inclined to question the Holtzman

Inkblot Test as an instrument for measurement as it is so

effected by age.

A third question that should be raised is regarding the

developmental course of the imaginative play predisposi-

tion. Is the development so rapid during these years that

it is difficult to measure or is it truly a trait in the

individual or only an artifact of age or development. A

further question to be asked regarding methodology is that

if the Holtzman Inkblot Test and the Imaginative Play Pre-

disposition Interview are so poorly correlated can one

task be substituted for the other in inquiries with older

age children where the Imaginative Play Predisposition In-

terview is inappropriate. The above mentioned questions

underscore several needs in this area. First of all,

further work needs to explore the definition of the imag-

inative play predisposition in order to generate a more

appropriate methodology to examine it. Second, work in

defining imaginative play predisposition and its methodol-

ogy must be examined over more populations to provide a

firmer data base for the construct.

Although Lieberman's (1964) results regarding playful-

ness were essentially replicated, i.e., teachers rated children

as discriminable and in the upper range of playfulness, it

is not possible to conclude anything from those data. With-

out establishing validity, other than face validity, and re-

liability of the construct, it is difficult to conclude what

the playfulness scale actually measures. Playfulness as a

construct is theoretically interesting and potentially use-

ful. Intuitively it addresses many of the concerns raised

regarding play behavior by incorporating cognitive, social

and affective components. Before further empirical explora-

tion is possible, however, considerable basic methodolog-

ical research must take place in order to determine the

validity and reliability of the construct. One research pos-

sibility would be to utilize trained observational data on

children's play behavior with teachers' and/or other trained

observers ratings with the playfulness rating scales. Es-

tablishment of adequate validity and reliability of the

Playfulness scale would permit it to serve as an efficient

research tool.

The second problem attempted in this study, to compare

two aspects of play behavior in order to provide some unity

of theoretical conceptualization, yielded significant rela-

tionships which are intriguing. In turn these results raise

further questions. Given the limited utility of the Lieber-

man (1964) playfulness instrument caution must be used in

interpreting the results. In light of this caution, how-

ever, the relationships of significance were found between

imaginative play predisposition and the cognitive

spontaneity subset of playfulness. As the cognitive spon-

taneity dimension of playfulness most directly addresses

imaginative play, this may in fact be the only aspect of

playfulness which is related to Singer's (1973) imaginative

play predisposition. Of interest, however, was the fact

that the slope of the regressions for the relationship be-

tween frequency of cognitive spontaneity and imaginative

play were negative, whereas the slope of the regression

representing the relationship between the quality of cog-

nitive spontaneity and imaginative play was positive. One

might intuitively assume that the slopes would both be pos-

itive. The question on the Lieberman (1966) instrument for

measuring the quality of congitive spontaneity directly ad-

dresses the degree of imagination demonstrated by the child

in expressive and dramatic play. These significant relation-

ships indicate an important direction for further empirical


An enormously frustrating task for the individual in-

terested in examining play behavior is the lack of an ade-

quate methodology for research. Although fascinating, play

behavior is complex. Theoretical conceptualization surround-

ing play is diverse and equally complex.

The limited significant results in this study raise

three basic questions. The first question is whether or not

measures of the constructs have any empirical relationship

to each other. The theoretical bases of the constructs

point to a relationship which was only minimally supported

by the data. The second question raised by the results of

this study is whether or not the constructs as defined are

adequate for further empirical work. The aforementioned

question is a methodological concern. The evidence for re-

liability and validity of the instruments currently assumed

to measure the constructs may be inadequate to make any

clear statements regarding the existence of the phenomena.

The third question raised regards the logical processes of

research: the inductive process vs. the deductive process.

There are two opposing schools of thought concerning

the most effective methods for integrating diverse data.

The deductive school states that theories should be formu-

lated first and then tested by experiment. The inductive

method is to experiment first and to let the theories emerge

from the data. The difference between the two schools is

not so much the presence or absence of theory in research,

but the way in which theory is developed.

The deductive method provides a certain elegance in re-

search by which comprehensive theories generate the defini-

tion of constructs. These constructs are then operationally

defined and reliable and valid instruments are developed to

measure observable behavior. Dataare gathered in an effort

to empirically support the theoretical postulates. The dif-

ficulty in this logical process is exemplified by the area

of play. Theoretical development has far surpassed

methodological development. In psychology where phenomena

are diverse and complex this presents a serious dilemma.

The current trend in psychological research is to narrow

one's focus to examine a small amount of relatively simple


A second approach in current psychological research

is to utilize the inductive method. Sidman states: in-

tensive cultivation of an area of research by an alert ob-

server will inevitably bring out interrelations among the

phenomena comprising the area (Sidman, 1960, p. 15). In

this method a large number of experiments must be conducted

with the hypothesis that order will emerge. This requires

a basic faith in the orderliness of behavior.

The present research most closely followed the deduc-

tive method. Based on theoretical conceptualizations, re-

lationships between the constructs of imaginative play pre-

disposition, playfulness and ideational fluency were hypoth-

esized. Conclusions from the data are limited by the ab-

sence of careful methodological development. This can be

seen in the lack of clear operational definitions of the

constructs, and the absence of reliable and valid instru-

ments to measure observable behavior.

The course for future research can be guided by les-

sons from both the inductive and deductive methods of re-

search. Inductively more observational data need be col-

lected to generate the definition of play behavior and its

parameters. Deductively, the definitions of play behavior

need to be tested empirically in relationship to the exten-

sive theoretical literature existing regarding play. Re-

search should establish the reliability and validity of the

instruments presumed to measure behavior related to the con-

structs of imaginative play and playfulness. This could be

accomplished utilizing careful observational data on chil-

dren's play behavior.

Investigation of children's play behavior offers the

researcher the potential for greater understanding of de-

velopment: affective, cognitive, social and psychopatho-

logical. It is not surprising that play has captured the

interest of philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, as

well as psychologists. As with so many areas in psychology,

theoretical work reaches far beyond the data base. Each

empirical investigation provides a few small steps to close

that gap. Often of greater importance are the new questions

which are raised. This study although providing few an-

swers, clearly points to some important directions for fu-

ture research.



Imaginative SES Level
SES Level
Interview Score
0 1 (.07) 3 (.19) 2 (.13) 3 (.19) 3 (.17)

1 4 (.29) 7 (.44) 6 (.40) 5 (.31) 7 (.39)

2 5 (.36) 4 (.25) 4 (.27) 5 (.31) 4 (.22)

3 3 (.21) 1 (.06) 3 (.20) 1 (.06) 3 (.17)

4 1 (.07) 1 (.06) 0 2 (.13) 1 (.06)

Number of subjects.
Number of subjects.

**Percentage of N for each SES level.


Combined SES Level

0 5 5 (.36) 3 (.19) 4 (.27) 4 (.25) 9 (.50)

6 10 4 (.29) 5 (.31) 5 (.33) 2 (.13) 3 (.17)

11 15 0 4 (.25) 2 (.13) 3 (.19) 3 (.17)

16 20 4 (.29) 2 (.13) 3 (.20) 4 (.25) 1 (.056)

>. 21 1 (.07) 2 (.13) 1 (.07) 2 (.13) 2 (.11)

Number of subjects.
Percentage of N for SES level.



1 -5 0

6 10 0

11 15 1

16 20 2

21- 25 3

26 30 9

31- 35 6

36 40 25

41 45 26

46 50 7


SES Level
Playfulness SES Level

1-5 0 0 0 0 0

6 10 0 0 0 0 0

11 15 0 1 0 1 0

16 20 0 0 1 0 1

21 25 1 1 0 0 1

26 30 1 2 2 1 4

31 35 1 0 2 2 2

36 40 4 4 7 5 4

41 45 4 6 2 6 6

46 50 3 2 1 1 0



>O >O +J > >1 >O
40 4J 4J 4J 4J 4J 4J
3 4 .-4 5 .4 H ) 4*4 a) -44
-4 a 4 0 ) > )
+j 4J 10 : 1 rA 4-)> *
5q B5 3f 3 5 4 3 3 d i 4 J
0 0 n3 >1 >1 u 0 u 0l ( d fO U O t3 o ro tr o r0
S5 o I 5 3 O 3 o
(n z i xi P4 cn 0 04 ffi Ol i 01u In oi

1 5 4 5 5 4 5 5 5 5 5

2 4 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 4 4

3 4 4 5 4 4 4 5 5 4 4

4 3 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 5 3

5 5 5 4 3 3 2 4 4

6 5 4 5 4 5 5 4 3 3 3

7 5 4 5 5 5 4 5 3 5 4

8 4 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 3 3

9 3 3 5 4 5 4 3 3 4 4

10 4 4 5 4 3 3 4 4 3 4

11 5 4 5 5 4 3 5 4 5 5

12 5 5 4 4 4 3 4 3 55

13 4 4 4 4 5 5 4 3 4 5

14 5 5 4 5 4 4 5 5 5 5

15 4 4 5 4 4 4 4 5 4 5

16 3 4 5 5 4 3 4 4 5 5

17 5 4 4 5 5 5 5 5

18 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4

19 4 3 5 4 4 4 4 5 4 4

20 4 3 4 3 3 4 4 54 5


>1 4-3 O > >1 > >1 >0
4J 4 1 .-4 45 40 4- 45-
-, 4 4- 4 -,4 -r -H
u 4 u -4 4 U 44 3 4 -4 4. 4J -4
) Q) -.4-3 4J -4 4J -i Cl CX 4 4J 4 -A (0 4J -) m ( -H 4 p .--V 4 .I
0 o> 0 M > o>o ) C rd Uo 0 reol 0 rd
0 0 03 0 0 0
00 U) (I O( Pa 4n O( -)m (31 U) (n (' U) m cq u cn 02 u U) cy

21 4 5 4 4 5 5 5 4 5 5

22 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 4 5 5

23 2 3 3 3 3 2 3 2 4 4

24 4 2 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 4

25 3 2 3 3 3 2 3 2 4 4

26 4 2 5 5 3 2 4 3 5 5

27 4 4 5 5 4 4 4 4 5 5

28 4 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 3

29 4 3 5 5 3 3 4 4 4 4

30 3 3 4 4 3 3 5 5 4 4

31 3 2 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 3

32 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

33 2 2 4 4 5 5 4 4 4 4

34 3 4 3 3 3 2 5 5 5 5

35 4 3 4 4 3 2 4 4 4 4

36 4 4 4 4 5 4 5 5 5 5

37 3 4 5 5 2 2 4 3 4 4

38 3 3 5 5 4 3 4 4 4 4

39 3 2 4 4 3 2 4 4 2 2

40 4 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5



>1 > 4-O >1 >0 >0 >O >0
VJ +J -.4 4J a a -P -
-H 4 .*r .r *H -, 01 -H
Hr-1 > ) >1 Q) >1 ) > > >
4i 4 4 j 4 M J
-A H4J- 4J -H-V -H C4 0 -I4-' 4 *H rd J -w 4-* 1 H 44-P -H
SS > o > 0 rd >1 0>3 rd 0 o 0 0 ( 0 p o0
05 0 4 : 0 l 0 3 3 3 0 3D4 3 0 2 0 4 3
SP4 U) (DI 0 U DI -D 04) (nl cx U) CN In M Cn9O Um Ol U CO

41 3 5 3 2 4 3 3 2 2 2

42 3 2 5 5 4 2 5 5 4 4

43 4 3 3 4 3 2 2 2 4 4

45 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 3 2

46 1 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

47 4 2 5 5 5 5 4 4 5 5

48 4 2 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4

49 3 2 3 3 3 2 3 2 2 2

50 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 2 3 4

51 1 5 3 2 3 3 3 2 3 3

52 4 4 5 5 3 3 2 3 4 4

53 4 5 5 5 4 3 4 5 5 5

54 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 4 4 4

55 1 2 1 1 4 4 2 1 1 3

56 5 1 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

57 5 1 5 4 5 5 4 4 5 5

58 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 3 2

59 1 1 3 1 3 2 2 1 4 4

60 5 5 5 5 3 3 4 4 5 5



> .O >1 4C > > O >1 > O 0
61 5 5 4 4 444 5 5 3 4
62 5 *- ) -4 3 4 )
r)> HU H > >1 0) >1 0) > 0), >0 0
4-rl ( 4 >1 4 >, *, 4 '
63 4 3 u 5 4 3 l 4

)64 5 5 54J 4 r-l 43 4- 4 4 () -1 4- 4 3
65 5 5 5C n 3 3 4 q
> 0 > i0 O >1 M ) 0) 0 T ro tai 0 m

66 5 4 5 4 5 5 5 5 45 : 0 Q45
co z 1 I (D I cq yi oi c CX Ol En M Ol U) Mn Ol U co cy u U) CN

61 5 5 4 4 4 4 5 5 3 4

62 5 4 5 5 4 3 4 3 4 5

63 4 3 5 5 4 3 5 5 4 4

64 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 3 4 3

65 5 5 5 5 4 4 3 3 4 4

66 5 4 5 4 5 5 5 5 4 5

67 5 3 4 4 5 4 3 3 4 4

68 5 4 5 5 4 3 4 4 4 4

69 4 2 5 3 3 3 3 3 4 3

70 4 4 5 5 4 4 3 3 4 3

71 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 5

72 4 3 5 5 4 3 3 2 5 4

73 5 5 4 3 3 2 5 5 5 5

74 4 4 5 5 3 3 2 2 4 4

75 5 4 3 4 2 1 4 4

76 5 4 5 5 3 3 4 4 3 3

77 5 4 5 5 5 5 4 3 3 4

78 5 5 3 4 3 2 5 5 3 2

79 3 3 4 5 3 3 2 2 4 4

80 4 2 3 4 4 3 2 4 4 4


Ideational SES Level

TABLE 9 (continued)

Ideational SES Level

29 0 1 0 1 3

30 0 2 2 3 2

15 2*(.14)** 2 (.13) 1 (.07) 3 (.19) 3 (.17)

16 25 9 (.64) 7 (.44) 11 (.73) 9 (.60) 9 (.50)

_ 26 3 (.21) 6 (.38) 3 (.20) 5 (.33) 7 (.39)

*Ideational Fluency scores.

**Percentage scores.













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"I have some things here to do and I'd like you to help me

with them. I want to find out how boys and girls do these

things, and whether they have fun doing them. So, I'm

going to ask you and (mention playmates where indicated) to

do these with me."

Product Improvement (after E. Paul Torrance)

1. "Well, what have we here. It is a toy dog. Now

you tell me the most interesting, cleverest ways by which

you can change this dog (or: make him different) so that

you and other children would have more fun playing with it.

You just tell me how and I'll write down your ideas."

Record answers and comments on form.

Time: 1'30"

If subject obviously runs out of responses, note
time and go on to Part 2.

If subject can give no responses, skip Part 2 and
go on to next item.

Only where subject is obviously shy, say: "All
right, let's leave this for a while and maybe
you'll think of something later." Return at
end of battery.

2. "What else do we have here? It's a doll. Now

you go ahead and tell me the most interesting and cleverest

ways by which you can change this doll so that it will be

more fun to play with."

Proceed as above.

Time: 1'30"

Monroe Language Classification Test (after C.E. Meyers
et al.)

"Now this is the last thing we're going to do."

"Tell me all the animals you can think of as quickly as

you can."

"Tell me all the things to eat you can think of."

"Tell me all the toys you can think of."

Record each category.

Time: 30" for each (extension to 1' consid-

ered). Praise child for cooperation.

"How did you like the things we did?"

Record answers.


This guide is divided into two parts according to the

two tasks: (1) Product Improvement and (s) the Monroe

Language Classification Test.

While specific instructions for relevancy and scoring

of responses are given separately for each task on the basis

of the answers obtained in this study, the following overall

guidelines for the divergent thinking factors of ideational

fluency, spontaneous flexibility, and originality are ap-


Ideational Fluency. This is obtained by counting all

of the separate relevant responses given by subjects regard-

less of quality.

Product Improvement

Relevancy of a Response

1. The response must indicate that the instructions

have been understood, i.e., something needs to be done to

or with the object, resulting in a change in object of sit-

uation around it. Examples:

Relevant Irrelevant

Make him into a fox You can play with him
Make him dance Share him
(If he) barked a little Squeeze his hand
like alive
Add another doll to make To keep it the way it is
him brothers
Key back here (without

2. The response must indicate that the child accepts

the premise of change for the purpose stated, i.e., "fun to

play with" and that it connects in some way with the given

object. Answers indicating unrelated associational stream

or pure nonsense--i.e., change to anything at all, are not

acceptable. Examples:

Relevant Irrelevant

Make ears stand up Paper to write on or change
Make tail wag into nothing
Put bow in his head Make into telephone
Change into rabbit (for dog) Turn into table
Change into doctor (for doll)

3. A reply may be relevant for toy dog but not for

toy doll and vice versa. Also, in Part 2 (doll) change to

stimulus object of 1 is not acceptable. Examples:

Relevant Irrelevant

Make him into a lion (dog) Make him into a lion (doll)
Make him into a dolly (dog) Make him into a dog (doll)

4. An answer is relevant, irrespective of underlying

affect, if outcome is judged constructive. Examples:

Relevant Irrelevant

Cut off head and use the out- I'll break his head, arms,
side (clothing) to make everything
a toy watch I'll cut off his ears
Poke holes in his eyes Take out his eyes
I'll twist his leg

5. When by explicit statement or by implication, the

dog or toy-man has been made alive ("adaptation" in Tor-

rance's categories for flexibility), the following answers

are relevant:

He might chase a cat
Make him go to work
To do things on a ship (in a number of instances sub-
jects called doll "a sailor")

6. Part of a reply may be accepted as relevant. Ex-


Play with it--wrestle or (put him on his head)

6. If a child by demonstration, acting out or story-

telling makes changes implicit, the reply is relevant.


"Woof, woof" as subject handles dog
"Give him a house for children to have more fun play-
ing, and ask the postman to fix him"

Scoring of Relevant Responses

When scoring for ideational fluency, the unit of enu-

meration is the thought unit, this coinciding with the clas-

sification unit. Therefore,

score as one (1)

1. When unit is logically connected and stated as such

by subject. Examples: Take off shirt and change into dif-

ferent costume; take this ribbon off and put furry thing

around him.

2. When the second part of the unit is an explanation

of the first. Examples: Make him like Robin Hood--jump up

and down; barked a little, like alive.

3. When the second part is an alternative. Example:

Change his face with a mask or skin or an animal.

4. When after an overall change has been suggested,

specific changes are detailed. Example: Change into col-

lie--different fur, white and brown, back all brown, long

mouth, sharp claws.

5. When changes are distinct but make up one context

or classification unit, i.e., one idea. Example: To get a

funny black and white clothes, brown hands, white nose,

black eyes, and a funny green hat.

score as zero (0)

1. When only agents of change are given without spec-

ifying any changes. Examples: Make abracadabra; key back

there; a fairy could change it.

2. When change back is specified. Example: Change

into real pig, goose, and then change back to normal.

Monroe Language Classification Test

Relevancy of a Response

Animals--real, imaginary, living, extinct, and generic.


Relevant Irrelevant

Cow Houses
Dinosaur People

Things to Eat--everything edible, including general cate-

gories and fluids as well as food specified for animals.



Lamb chops Everyt
Meat a st
Grill Animal

Toys--a. All specific toys. Examples:



hing you can buy in


Dolls Doll corner
Dump truck Baby toys

b. Objects that are prefaced by "toy" or by the sub-

ject saying "one could play with" or that are implicitly

understood to be handled in play situation. Examples:


People (in the form of dolls)

c. Materials for play activities. Examples:


Wood to make toys

d. Responses with no bearing on play situation are

to be considered irrelevant. Examples:

Bees and bats
Closet Toy
Daphne (Name of playmate)

Scoring of Relevant Responses: Ideational Fluency

Animals. No credit for duplicate responses. Count

separately male and female of species, and generic and

specific responses. Examples: Lion, Father Lion; fish,


Things to Eat. a. Count separately when subject

specifies different kinds of the same food. Examples:

plain cheese, velveeta cheese. b. Count as single re-

sponse when one dish or meal is implied. Examples: Spag-

hetti and meatballs, hamburger and french fries, supper,


Toys. a. Collective terms are counted as single re-

sponses. Example: games, b. Mere elaboration without

differentiation is a single response. Examples: car,

automobile car. c. Count as separate responses when sub-

ject specifies differences in the same toy. Examples:

baby dolls, big dolls; trucks, gasoline trucks.


Rating Instructions

As a teacher you know that children differ in many

ways--some are shy, some are friendly, some grab what they

want, others ask, or wait, for it.

In this study, we are interested in finding out how

children differ in the way they go about their play activ-

ities--how spontaneous, how cheerful, how "full-of-the-dev-

il" they are, and we hope to have your cooperation in this


Attached you will find, therefore, a rating measure

made up of five scales which refer directly to a child's

behavior during play. You will note that each of the five

scales or questions has two parts. Part A of the question

aims to get at the frequency or quantity of the trait;

Part B tries to assess the quality of the trait shown. For

example, "how often does the child show joy" would be the

quantity of the trait, and "with what freedom of expression"

would be the quality of the trait.

We hope you will find it possible and worthwhile to

look at the children in your group along the traits

suggested in the rating scales and give us your evaluation

of them.

We are also interested in finding out what your impres-

sion is of the child's intelligence and physical attractive-

ness, and we would like you to give us your estimate of

these as well.

When you rate the children, you will, of course, want

to compare them with one another as well as keep in mind a

general standard for these traits in kindergarteners.

It is easier and better to rate all children first on

one trait (or question), and then do the same for each of

the six other questions. The sheets for marking down your

ratings have, therefore, been set up for the different


There will be twelve ratings for each child. Please

put down the figure that best indicates your evaluation of

the child's present thinking. Descriptive terms are also

given to help you in making your rating.

Any comments about the content or form of the ques-

tions, or about any difficulties that you may have in an-

swering them, will be welcomed.

Playfulness Rating Scale

I. A. How often does the child engage in spontaneous

physical movement and activity during play?

This behavior would include skipping, hopping,
jumping, and other rhythmic movements of the
whole body or parts of the body like arms, legs
or head, which could be judged as a fairly clear
indication of exhuberance.






B. How is his motor coordination during physical







II. A. How often does the child show joy in or during his

play activities?

This may be judged by facial expression such as
smiling, by verbal expressions such as saying "I
like this," or "This is fun," or by more indirect
vocalizing such as singing as an accompaniment of
the activity, f.i., "choo, choo, train, go along."
Other behavioral indicators would be repetition
of activity, or resumption of activity with clear
evidence of enjoyment.






2 1


Rating Scale

4 3

B. With what freedom of expression does he show his


This may be judged by the intensity of loudness of
a chuckle or a sing-song as well as the child's
ability to repeat or resume his activity by his
own choice.






III. A. How often does the child show a sense of humor

during play?






With what degree of consistency is humor shown?

High High Moderate Some Little

IV. A. While playing, how often does the child show flex-

ibility in his interaction with the surrounding

group structure?

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