Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences (BCAS)

Date of Last Revision

2023-05-03 23:41:25


Political Science - Criminal Justice - Track 2

Honors Course

Honors Project

Number of Credits


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2020


This paper is a literature review which examines the relationship between play and prosocial behavior. More specifically, it examines its inverse, questioning whether a lack of play in early childhood may be correlated to the development of antisocial behavior later in life. Comparing research from an abundance of psychologists, criminologists, and sociologists, this paper answers various questions pertaining to play and prosocial behavior: What happens if play is inhibited in childhood? Would different reasons for play to be inhibited result in different results (i.e. abusive childhoods, desperate situations such as homelessness and poverty, chronic illness, etc.)? Is a lack of play in childhood telltale of future antisocial behavior? It is concluded that play teaches children certain skills that help develop empathy, and if an individual were to be incapable of play in any way, their empathetic development could potentially be stumped. Thus, while a lack of play does not directly cause antisocial behavior in childhood, it does increase a risk in an development of empathy – which is a key trait of antisocial behavior.

Research Sponsor

Bill Lyons

First Reader

Dave Rogers

Second Reader

Renee Franklin

Honors Faculty Advisor

Ron Gelleny



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