In its broadest sense, toy refers to a plaything, an object regarded as providing amusement or pleasure, commonly associated with children. In its conceptual application, the term toy has no fixed, unitary meaning. Rather, an object's recognition as a toy depends on its setting, the prior experience of the user, and culturally derived associations. Toys are matters of cultural and economic importance, operating in a multibillion-dollar global industry, including vast secondary markets based around adult collecting cultures. Indeed, some toys have reached the status of cultural icon, such as Barbie, attracting a majority share of academic and popular attention (Rogers 1999).

Yet, toys constitute a restricted field of study. This is evidenced in the disparate nature of toy research, which spans disciplines as varied as psychology, ...

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