Isabel Behncke Izquierdo & Beau Lotto

wednesday OCTOBER 26, 2016 - 2:30 - 2:55pm

the power of play 

The Science of Openness: Seeing & playing freely for life

Isabel Behncke, MSc, MPhil, PhD and Beau Lotto, Neuroscientist & Artist

Life is hard! Throughout our evolutionary history there were more ways to die in the world than there were to stay alive (and this hasn’t changed). Which is why our behaviors are often biased towards the negative rather than the positive. Why then, when it would seem the most rational response to darkness is to do nothing do we not just stand still? We instead move forward. We find … and even create light. But how is moving forward possible in the Heart of Darkness? 
A key answer is Play! Since play entails costs in energy and time (…even serious injury and death), it must have evolved for good reason. And indeed, play is evolution’s solution to one of the biggest challenges facing life, namely, uncertainty. This is essential, as without stepping into uncertainty, no system (including humans) would be able to create, much less maintain life-long adaptation in the face of a changing world. Play not only helps us tolerate uncertainty, but when playing, we love uncertainty – we find it fun and we can thrive in it. Play not only motivates us to go towards and engage with the world, but its joie de vivre is the core linker between complex sociality, consciousness and creativity.
Based on Isabel Behncke’s behavioral research on wild bonobos in the Congo jungle and Beau Lotto’s on the neuroscience of seeing differently, we will learn that play enables a less egocentric, and more open, complex and adaptive way of perceiving one’s self and one’s world. Check the previous work of these scientists at TED.com – and come to experience the power of play