Dr. Stuart Brown had an early insight that play is a developmentally important human process. Here is how that insight evolved to the vision he has today for the National Institute for Play.
Discovers importance of play from its absence
Texas Tower – Charles Whitman
He was consulting psychiatrist, to Texas Governor John Connally’s Fact Finding Task Force for the Charles J. Whitman Texas Tower Case. This work led to additional research on the causes of violence which pointed to lack of play as a significant contributing factor.
He later became founding Clinical Director and Chief of Psychiatry at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center and an Associate Professor at UCSD in San Diego, where he monitored play in the lives of his patients.
Catalogs the play profiles of over 8,000 people
Conducted 8,000 interviews
His personal data indicated strongly the importance of play to success in life. But, most of the play-related research he discovered was fragmented and lacked quantitative confirmation of what could be readily observed clinically.
Dr. Brown left clinical medicine in 1989 to explore the question “What is Play?” in great depth. He turned to the study of animal play to deepen his understanding of human play.
Promotes the value of play to mainstream audiences
Animals at Play
In 1994, he published “Animals at Play” the cover story for the December Issue of the National Geographic magazine and he produced (in 1995) an Explorer TV program, “Play, the Nature of the Game”.
In 2000, he produced “The Promise of Play” a 3-hour PBS series which presented to mainstream audiences what human play is and how important it is throughout life. A series of projects are underway to supplement the Promise of Play PBS Series.
“Dr. Brown is the world’s foremost practical champion of the knowledge of play.”
Executive Director & CEO
Association for Play Therapy