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Readers ponder children’s pretend play, planetary dust storms and more

Your letters and comments on the February 17, 2018 issue of Science News

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10:18am, March 22, 2018

Flight of fantasy

Similar to their hunter-gatherer counterparts, many children in Western societies prefer play that mimics the things that adults do, Bruce Bower reported in “When it’s playtime, many kids prefer reality over fantasy" (SN: 2/17/18, p. 22). But fantasy play may still be valuable.

Reader Pat Rapp wondered about the implications of an experiment that showed that children who engaged in pretend games displayed a greater ability to control their emotional responses to another person’s apparent pain compared with kids who participated in more practical games.

“Usually this type of result comes up in attempts to characterize autism, and it’s

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