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What does research have to say about defining "fun"--what it is or when it happens? I've found some research on whether or not people rate specific things as fun, and lots of misleading titles with the word "fun" in them, but very little on what fun is (cognitively, neurologically, affectively, socially) and when it happens. I also found a couple of cogsci.SE questions but the answers are either entirely unsupported or stray into other waters (motivation, addiction).

Is there a cognitive or scientific definition of "fun"?
Is there a body of research on when fun happens?

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  • $\begingroup$ I too am looking for information similar to what you have requested. As this is an old post I thought I would write to see if you got any further in your quest for peer-reviewed research and definition of Fun. $\endgroup$ – user13802 Sep 25 '16 at 6:37
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Oddly enough, the place where you find the most information about this topic is where there's a lot of money to be made from it. Facebook games or games in general. If you focus on "why do people like to play some games and not others", then you're asking more of an economical question, and there will be a lot more information on the topic.

Example: Funology: From Usability to Enjoyment (Human-Computer Interaction Series)

There's plenty of other works of this kind.

If you want things that are not related to games, I recommend Bruce C. Daniels's Puritans At Play: Leisure and Recreation in Early New England.

I believe both of these are available on Open Library.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I'm really looking for peer-reviewed research, not anecdotal or philosophical stuff, so the HCI series could be promising. $\endgroup$ – Krysta Jan 13 '15 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, that's fair. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – zumalifeguard Jan 13 '15 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Krysta if you have extra criteria for answers, like demanding that they be empirical (since, as we've discussed before, this is not an inherent criteria for CogSci) then you should make that explicit in your question out of respect for the time of people who write the answers. $\endgroup$ – Artem Kaznatcheev Jan 14 '15 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ I think asking for a scientific or cognitive definition or a body of research is specific enough--it doesn't have to be empirical, specifically (nor did I say that), just well-supported research and not general speculation. $\endgroup$ – Krysta Jan 14 '15 at 19:24

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