What Playful Animals Can Teach Us About The Biology Of Fun


Play and fun, though seemingly purposeless, are fundamental aspects of the human experience.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we’re wired for play. But why? By definition, play is an activity without purpose or aim — but it does have important implications for learning and development.

We can look to the animal kingdom to see how fundamental play is to human nature, and to understand why we might have evolved to seek out and enjoy fun. In a new special issue of the journal Current Biology, scientists share insights on fun and play in various animal species in order to shed light on the importance of amusement in our everyday lives.

“The brain activity associated with ‘having fun’ presumably leads in some way to activation of reward centers in the brain… This would give a proximate explanation for why we pursue fun, but why has this reward-relationship evolved in the first place?” Geoffrey North, editor of Current Biology, writes in an editorial. “What evolutionary advantage is there to engaging in the kind of activities we associate with fun? As usual with an evolutionary question it is helpful to take a broad look at what appear to —> Read More Here


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