Is Fun a Mark of Intelligence?


It seems to me that, in order to have “fun” a creature needs some sort of self-awareness: “I am doing something that amuses me.” There’s some more than basic cause/effect analysis going on, there, as well: “I do this thing and I have fun.” Can we say it’s a creative process?

A Russian caught a corvid having fun on a snowy roof, using a can-top.

Comments

  1. says

    Caine@#1:
    Categorical yes.

    I agree. I’m not sure what “intelligence” is but I’d say that if you see something having fun, it’s smart.

    Yeah, you can practically hear the crow going “WHEEEEEEEEEEE!” there’s a lot of body-language there.

  2. Dunc says

    “For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.” – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

  3. Holms says

    Amongst scientists that research and evaluate intelligence among non-humans, yes, play behaviour is considered indicative of intelligence.

  4. says

    Dunc@#4:
    the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.

    Well, they were smart enough to not allow the oceans to be arranged so that a small number of dolphins controlled access to all the fish, and could make the remainder of them “work” for them in order to get food. How edenic!

  5. says

    Holms@#5:
    Amongst scientists that research and evaluate intelligence among non-humans, yes, play behaviour is considered indicative of intelligence.

    It must be a fascinating problem – to assess dolphin intelligence VS a crow’s intelligence. I’m off to do some reading and see what I can learn about that! (I also have curiousity!)

  6. robert79 says

    My first thought is that fun is, indirectly, associated with intelligence. Specifically, it comes with the ability to learn or train. Note that children find different tasks fun than adults, and their enjoyment grows alongside with their ability to perform such tasks. For example, a 3 year old might enjoy a 4-piece jigsaw puzzle that an adult will get quickly bored of, but the adult may enjoy a 1000 piece puzzle. For the 3 year old, the puzzle is challenging but achievable — in completing the puzzle he/she is training muscle control in putting the pieces together, hand eye coordination, and visualisation skills and figuring out where to place the next piece. A lot of such fun is just trying things out, seeing what happens, and learning from the outcome, and I guess ‘intelligent’ species have evolved to find such tasks enjoyable so that they are encouraged to learn.

    Similarly, playing puppies or kittens are also training hunting skills by chasing that ball of yarn, or by jumping on each other and grabbing each other by the neck.

    And the bird in the video is training balance and muscle control by sliding down a roof.

  7. says

    robert79@#8:
    Specifically, it comes with the ability to learn or train.

    That makes sense. It’s a way of self-training agility. (He said, thinking of all the times the reflexes he honed on his bicycle later saved his life)

  8. says

    Corvids are awesome and scary-smart.

    I wonder if birdie-dude up there came up with it themselves, or picked it up after watching kids sledding. (Also, do crows not migrate?)

    Either way, it’s so cool seeing other species do “human” things. Or, uh, things we think of as “human”.

  9. says

    WMDKitty — Survivor @#12:
    I wonder if birdie-dude up there came up with it themselves, or picked it up after watching kids sledding.

    Good point – learning through observation is another hallmark of intelligence shown by crows.

Leave a Reply