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Why Games Are Fun? The Reward System in the Human Brain

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Gamer Psychology and Behavior

Abstract

Why sugar is sweet? Why sexual activities are pleasurable? Why computer games are fun? Answers to such questions may end up in circular reasoning unless findings from evolutionary biology and neuroscience are not utilized. The brain circuits that determine and modulate the hedonic impact of events and substances are relatively well described and evolutionary theories help us understand the advantages of assigning such a value to “pleasurable” things and activities. The question “Why games are fun,” however, seems to require a further understanding of human neuropsychology and evolution because computer games are a very novel part of our lives as a species and quite alien to our past. This concise yet rather dense chapter aims to present a brief introduction and a road map for further reading toward our current scientific understanding of play behavior and how it lays the foundations of the modern phenomena called gaming. Diverse topics ranging from the evolution and adaptive value of play to the neuronal circuits that enable us to derive pleasure from it will be briefly discussed along with examples from experimental studies conducted in humans and animals to elaborate on the “fun” and sometimes addictive nature of games.

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Correspondence to Mustafa Balkaya Ph.D. .

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Balkaya, M., Catak, G. (2016). Why Games Are Fun? The Reward System in the Human Brain. In: Bostan, B. (eds) Gamer Psychology and Behavior. International Series on Computer Entertainment and Media Technology. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-29904-4_2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-29904-4_2

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  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-29904-4

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