Play and divergent problem solving: evidence supporting a reciprocal relationship

Shirley R. Wyver*, Susan H. Spence

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    A series of three studies was conducted to examine the relationship between specific forms of social and pretend play and divergent (figural and semantic) and convergent problem solving in preschool aged children. Naturalistic and experimental designs were used to provide a clearer account of the nature of the relationship between play and problem solving and to challenge the assumption that there is a single direction of influence (play influencing problem solving) rather than the influence being complex and reciprocal. Overall, the results support a complex reciprocal causality model in which the development of divergent problem solving skills facilitates the development of play skills and vice versa.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)419-444
    Number of pages26
    JournalEarly Education and Development
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999


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