Psychology

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According to Johan Huizinga, fun is “an absolutely primary category of life, familiar to everybody at a glance right down to the animal level.”[10] Psychological studies reveal both the importance of fun and its effect on the perception of time, which is sometimes said to be shortened when one is having fun.[11][12] As the adage states: “Time flies when you’re having fun”.

It has been suggested that games, toys, and activities perceived as fun are often challenging in some way. When a person is challenged to think consciously, overcome challenge and learn something new, they are more likely to enjoy a new experience and view it as fun. A change from routine activities appears to be at the core of this perception, since people spend much of a typical day engaged in activities that are routine and require limited conscious thinking. Routine information is processed by the brain as a “chunked pattern”: “We rarely look at the real world”, according to game designer Raph Koster, “we instead recognize something we have chunked, and leave it at that. […] One might argue that the essence of much of art is in forcing us to see things as they really are rather than as we assume them to be”.[13] Since it helps people to relax, fun is sometimes regarded as a “social lubricant”, important in adding “to one’s pleasure in life” and helping to “act as a buffer against stress”.[14]

For children, fun is strongly related to play and they have great capacity to extract the fun from it in a spontaneous and inventive way. Play “involves the capacity to have fun – to be able to return, at least for a little while, to never-never land and enjoy it.

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