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Thursday, 3 January 2019

Games People Play

The title of my blog is also the title of a "bestselling 1964 book" by psychiatrist Eric Berne (1910-1970): Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships (Amazon, BOL, Eric Berne). The various games, which people play, match the Body-Mind-Soul triangle (my blogs).

As a child, we mostly play bodily or physical games, like soccer. As an adult, we often play mind games, either socially (eg, online gaming) or alone (eg, puzzles). Finally, there are the heart and/or soul related matters, which resulted in so-called "love games".

The above examples are all positive. However, the games that people play also have a clear negative connotation. John Lennon's Mind Games is an interesting example of both.

Games appear essential in human lives as a tool for learning (eg, sourceYale). Kindergarten schools use games to teach young children, teenagers learn computers through (video) gaming, and companies use role-playing games in teaching employees. However, the same can also be said about young animals (eg, BBCBerkeley, Forbessource).

In accordance with the Body-Mind-Soul triangle, humans can learn from games:
(i) Body - how to be stronger than your opponent(s),
(ii) Mind - how to outwit your opponent(s),
(iii) Soul - how to impress the opposite sex (eg, medieval tournaments).

The above translates into the following Yale summary:
"Games and sports are found in early human history and appear to be cultural universals. But types of games and sports are not randomly distributed in the world’s cultures. Cross-cultural research has found that type of games and sports vary in some very predictable ways–they are related to social and political complexity, to how children are raised, and aggressive sports are related to warfare."
Forbes, 2006: "In his recent book, The Genesis of Animal Play, psychologist Gordon Burghardt argues that play is a distinctive distortion of other kinds of behavior. Play is not a means to an end, but an end in itself." [] Play, Burghardt writes, "may lie at the core of who we are and how we came to be." Note LO: bold and italic markings in quote by me.

The timing when people play games is both interesting and intriguing. We do not play games when we are busy - let alone stressed - but when we are bored. A 2014 BBC article shows a relationship between boredom and curiosity. Also see my 2017 blog on boredom and curiosity.

Obviously, external and internal curiosity are prerequisites for learning. Also see my related blogs of 20152017-1 and 2017-2.

Games People Play (1969) by Joe South

Games People Play (1980) by The Alan Parsons Project

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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