The KLI support international groups of scholars in the life and sustainability sciences working on interdisciplinary projects to conduct their groundbreaking research at the institute.  KLI Focus Groups and Working Groups aim to develop ideas on a particular subject and generate suggestions for action. The participants have different scientific backgrounds and strive to develop specific, practical goals.  Focus Groups are one-time meetings gathering and working together at the KLI for a period of one to maximum two weeks. Working Groups comprise 3 meetings over the course of one year and a half.

Event Details

2nd KLI Focus Group: Paul Smaldino, Sergio Pellis, Elisabetta Palagi, Gordon Burghardt (not in the picture: Jeff Schank, Louk Vanderschuren)
Working Groups & Focus Groups
Understanding the Mechanisms and Evolution of Play
2nd KLI Focus Group
2018-07-02 12:00 - 2018-07-13 14:00
Organized by Jeffrey Schank (UC Davis, CA)

To develop a clearer and deeper theoretical and empirical understanding of the evolutionary mechanisms that produce play and how these mechanisms may be transformed over evolutionary time. This deeper understanding will be achieved by bringing together experts on the (1) neurobehavioral mechanisms of play, (2) comparative analysis of play in diverse taxa, (3) modern statistical methods in comparative biology, and (4) evolutionary computational models of play. Theoretical and conceptual work accomplished will be published in a book that will be the first systematic theoretical, empirical, and conceptual analysis of the evolution of play.



  • Gordon M. Burghardt (University of Tennessee)
  • Sergio M. Pellis (University of Lethbridge)
  • Ellsabetta Palagi (University of Pisa)
  • Jeffrey Schank (UC Davis)
  • Paul Smaldino (UC Merced)
  • Louk Vanderschuren (University of Utrecht)


Invited participants only!