Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Social bonding among children in joint physically active play
Author: Jefferies, Megan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 606X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
Children's free play is often characterised by moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), touch, joint action, and enjoyment. Each of these features has been associated with interpersonal affiliation in either human or non-human primates. However, no research has examined how children's joint physically active play is linked with social bonding (i.e., positive emotional states and behaviours that help create, maintain, and characterise affiliation and attachment among individuals). This thesis comprises three novel studies that were designed to explore this question. A naturalistic observation study (N = 50) was first conducted to assess links among physical activity (PA), smiling/laughing, touch, and prosociality in children's play behaviour during school breaks. PA levels were also measured indirectly via heart rate monitors (HRM). We found that observed-PA was associated with frequency of smiling/laughing between pairs. PA (observed and HRM) was also associated with frequency of touch. A second study (N = 84) experimentally tested the effect of touch on helping behaviour in the context of physically-active play. In pairs, children ran to collect felt shapes, which they placed either onto each other (touch condition) or onto a board (no-touch condition). Subsequent helping behaviour was assessed in a separate task. There was a non-significant trend towards more helping in the touch condition. The final study (N = 252) tested the effect of physical exertion on children's social bonding and behavioural inhibition. In pairs, children either ran (MVPA condition) or walked (light PA condition) around an area laid out with mats. One child could choose to stand either on the same mat as the other child and do actions together or stand on separate mats and do the actions separately. This was followed by a pictorial measure of social closeness, followed by a behavioural inhibition task in which one child was instructed to place their hand inside a box containing unknown stimuli. No significant differences were detected between the two conditions. The thesis contributes to filling in gaps within the literature on play, social bonding, and physical activity, spanning evolutionary anthropology, developmental psychology, and health, and highlights the need for more controlled experimental studies among diverse populations.
Supervisor: Cohen, Emma ; Tuncgenc, Bahar Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Evolutionary Anthropology ; Developmental Psychology ; Cognitive Anthropology