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  • VO: This episode of Fun Science is brought to you by Brilliant.

  • These are the lyrics to the theme song of this very show.

  • CHARLIE: But despite the fact that I've been making fun science videos for years,

  • and that I've written an entire Fun Science book, available in all good book stores,

  • I have never, ever, tried to explore the actual science of fun!

  • But today that changes, in this episode of...


  • So, what is fun?

  • Well, surprisingly, science finds fun hard to define.

  • Although we know that fun brings enjoyment, not all enjoyment brings fun.

  • VO: For example, though I quite enjoy listening to classical music,

  • I wouldn't really describe the experience as fun.

  • Although, someone else's experience might be different.

  • CHARLIE: However, although fun is subjective, we all experience it in the same way

  • when the chemical dopamine is released in our brains.

  • Now, dopamine evolved as a reward for behavior that benefitted our survival.

  • So if you do something good for your species, like reproducing, your brain releases dopamine

  • as if to say, great job, do more of that.

  • But science also shows us that it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

  • VO: Take gambling as an example.

  • It might feel fun to win at first, but when we repeatedly flood our brain with dopamine

  • in high dosages it can actually change the structure of our brain, and thus our behavior.

  • This is what can form the makings of an addiction, which definitely is not fun.

  • CHARLIE: But, provided that it's not excessive, fun can definitely be good for you.

  • VO: It can help with depression, for example.

  • Studies show that doing something fun with others, even if you don't initially feel like it

  • can still improve your mood dramatically.

  • CHARLIE: And fun can help us to be more creative.

  • In a study where 1,500 people were asked to list potential uses for a jam jar and a paperclip,

  • those who ranked themselves as most playful were also able to come up with more ideas,

  • like this one.

  • It's a paper clip container.

  • Pretty fun, right?

  • VO: Here's a 'fun' fact.

  • If you can convince your brain that you're going on a run for fun rather than as exercise...

  • CHARLIE: I'm having a great time!

  • VO: Then you'll actually be less likely to eat afterwords.

  • CHARLIE: My run was my reward!

  • And, while making time for fun is important, apparently we have more fun when leisure activities

  • are loosely scheduled, say within a set window of time, or better yet completely unplanned--

  • ANGELINA: Hey Charlie!

  • CHARLIE: What?

  • I'm kind of busy right now.

  • ANGELINA: Do you wanna have a backpack fashion parade?


  • VO: And although it is still fun to have fun all by yourself,

  • we tend to have more fun when we do things with others, especially if they're our friends.

  • And what's a common side effect of having fun together?


  • VO: Laughter.

  • Scientists believe that laughter is related to the panting sound that animals like chimps

  • and bonobos make when the engage in rough and tumble play.

  • It's as if the laughter is there to signal...

  • CHARLIE: We're just playing and having fun.

  • ANGELINA: We're not gonna kill each other.

  • VO: And this signaling is helpful because play can help us to learn things like social rules,

  • establishing rank, bonding, motor skills, and managing stress.

  • CHARLIE: And maybe that's the best thing about fun,

  • and possibly the reason that Fun Science exists in the first place,

  • because fun makes it easier for us to learn...

  • So I hope you had fun, and I hope you learnt something,

  • and if you're looking to learn more science with the help of fun, why not try Brilliant?

  • VO: The people who built Brilliant understand the important role that fun plays in learning.

  • They give you fun and challenging problems to solve, getting you hooked on learning actively,

  • and helping you to master complex concepts.

  • Brilliant have loads of science courses to explore, but why not start with their science

  • essentials course and refamiliarize yourself with the basics?

  • To learn more go to and sign up for free, although the first 200

  • people who go to that link will also get 20% off an annual premium subscription.

  • Anyway, that's all for today, thank you so much for watching and I'll see you next time.

  • Bye bye!

VO: This episode of Fun Science is brought to you by Brilliant.

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A2 UK fun charlie dopamine angelina brilliant brain

What Is the Science of Fun? | Fun Science

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    Huahua posted on 2018/10/22
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