Since the 1960s, developmental psychologists point to the “Visual Cliff”—an experiment that plops babies on a fake precipice—as proof that infants learn to fear heights as they learn to crawl. Yet, over the past 25 years, a series of rigorous (and adorable) experiments by Karen Adolph of NYU’s Infant Action Lab has shattered this myth, revealing that while babies can learn from experiences near high ledges or narrow bridges, it’s not a phobia they acquire.
To inform the Playday 2008 campaign, Play England reviewed a comprehensive
array of recent research on the benefits and dangers of risky play and general
attitudes towards this. The findings are summarized in this review.
While on the road doing presentations in Australia recently (thanks, Inspired EC), I ran across Redheads brand wooden matches and decided they would be a
Fear, you would think, is a negative experience to be avoided whenever possible. Yet, as everyone who has a child or once was one knows, children love to play in risky ways—ways that combine the joy of freedom with just the right measure of fear to produce the exhilarating blend known as thrill.