Having Fun - is it an evolutionary advantage?

  • Thread starter Simfish
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  • #1
Simfish
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How would the concept of having fun benefit animals? To the point in which natural selection favors animals that have fun over animals that do not have fun.

I know it would benefit young animals, but how would the concept of fun benefit an older animal, especially to the point in which natural selection favors the animals that have fun? Would it be due to the positive effects of having fun? If so though, then how did fun give positive hormonal effects in the first place?
 

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  • #2
nautica
I am not sure that you completely understand natural selection. It only deals with passing genes not the lifestyle of those passing the genes.

Unless, of course sex = fun. Then it would have a direct effect.

Nautica
 
  • #3
Monique
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Well, you could relate 'fun' to social behaviour, thus survival.
 
  • #4
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Play is a great learning tool.
 
  • #5
Monique
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For instance big cats, they are not social animals since they live alone and the mother is the sole caretaker of the litter. The kittens are extremely playfull though. Maybe in certain species this playfullness evolved into social behaviour and thus was stretched beyond childhood years, to stay into adulthood.
 
  • #6
nautica
In cats most of the social behavior is training for later needed hunting skills.

Nautica
 
  • #7
LURCH
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I would also point out that the definition of "fun" may be directly related to superior survivability. That is to say, look at what activities would be considered "fun", do they not generally include the developement of skills that increase the chances of survival?

When you ride a roller-coaster (or participate in almost any other "thrill-seeking" activity), you experience conditions that should kill you in any natural setting. A human being cannot plumit from such great hieghts and survive without technology's intervention. In secaping from such a situation alive, you trigger a flood of dopamine, some seratonin (I think), and endorphins of every type. These reinforce whatever behavior got you out alive.

And the value of play as a learning tool has already been mentioned by Loren.
 
  • #8
selfAdjoint
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What about jokes as defusers of tension? Not to mention the sexual selection of wit ("Girls like boys who are funny" I read in a dating manual when I was around 12.) Probably the evolutionary causes of having fun are as complex and nuanced as the various definitions of it are.
 
  • #9
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Is fun more prevalent in particular human societies?
 

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