The Signals of Play: An ABM of Affective Signatures in Children’s Playgroups

  • Shana K. Schmidt
  • William A. Griffin


Ubiquitous self-organizing animal and human groups have increasingly become the focus of research by scientists interested in social dynamics. While a substantial amount of literature exists on the behavioral interaction patterns found in animal groups (see Dugatkin, 2001 for a review), there is not a comparable body of work in the social sciences. From hunter-gatherers to city-dwellers, structured gatherings of humans appear in all cultures. These groups range from married couples and co-workers to large crowds and neighborhoods, with each type having a distinct structure and ontology. Despite the variation found in the composition and evolution of these groups, it appears that humans, like a number of other species, improve their ability to adapt to environmental variability through clustering. What is not clear, however, is how discrete entities, each with unique attributes and preferences, contribute to the formation of these groups. Even less is known about the socio-developmental processes involved in these groups or the influence that these processes may have on subsequent group evolution.


Vector Score Preschool Classroom Play State Multidimensional Index Kindergarten Classroom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Heinrich, B. (2004). Play: Interview with Dr. Bernard Heinrich. In L. E. Dugatkin (Ed.), Principles of Animal Behavior (pp. 534–535). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  2. Auyang, S. Y. (1998). Foundations of complex-system theories: in econom-ics, evolutionary biology, and statistical physics. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bekoff, M., & Beyers, J. A. (1998). Animal play: evolutionary, comparative, and ecological perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Dugatkin, L. A. (2001). Model systems in behavioral ecology: Integrating conceptual, theoretical, and empirical Approaches. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
  5. Ekman, P., & Friesen, W.V. (1969). Nonverbal leakage and clues to deception. Psychiatry: Journal for the Study of Interpersonal Processes, 32, 88–106.Google Scholar
  6. Griffin, W. A. (2006). Agent-Based Modeling for the Theoretical Biologist. Biological Theory, 1(4), 404–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Griffin, W. A. (2002). Affect Pattern Recognition: Using Discrete Hidden Markov Models To Discriminate Distressed from Nondistressed Couples. Marriage and Family Review, 34, 139–163. Published simultaneously as a chapter in Fabes, R. (Eds.) Emotions and the Family. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Griffin, W. A., Hanish, L. D., Martin, C. L., & Fabes, R. A. (2004). Modeling playgroups in children: Determining validity and veridicality. In D. L. Sallach, C. M. Macal, & M. J. North (Eds.), Agent 2003: Challenges in Social Simulation (pp. 93–113). Chicago: University of Chicago & Argonne National Laboratory.Google Scholar
  9. Fagan, R. (1981). Animal Play Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Schmidt, S. K., Griffin, W. A., Hanish, L. D., Martin, C. L., & Fabes, R. A., Barcelo, H. Greenwood, P. (2005). Playmate: New Data, New Rules, and Model Validity. In D. L. Sallach, C. M. Macal, & M. J. North (Eds.), Agent 2004: Social Dynamics: Interaction, Reflexivity and Emergence (pp. 339–353). Chicago: University of Chicago & Argonne National Laboratory.Google Scholar
  11. Vaughn, B. E., Colvin, T. N., Azria, M. R., Caya, L., & Krzysik, L. (2001). Dyadic analyses of friendship in a sample of preschool age children attending Head Start: Correspondence between measures and implications for social compe-tence. Child Development 72, 862–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shana K. Schmidt
    • 1
  • William A. Griffin
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity, School of Social and Family DynamicsArizona State UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Center for Social Dynamics and ComplexityArizona State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations