Feminine gamification viewpoint: mixed gender fun
In my research for this blog theme, I came across a US study by MIT and George Washington University researchers published in the journal of economics and management strategy, which states that when men and women work together there is less fun, but higher productivity. They also found that homogeneous groups had more time for socialising and fun, but productivity paid a price. The research points out that fun happens more in homogenous groups. The study took the employee satisfaction survey results over 8 years from one global professional services firm.
When designing for employee engagement being inclusive would be important in my view and it is the very reason for this theme. The research for me triggered the question is their a fundamental difference in how men and women experience fun? Or is it just when we combine the 2 genders that we take away some fun factor? I also wondered as a result of reading the study whether both genders need each other to balance out and be most productive?
In another study about fun, researchers found that the funny spot in the brain is located in the same place for both men and women, namely in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (in case you really wanted the technical terms ;-)). What they found that in order to light it up different things were required. Men were easily triggered by direct comedy and slapstick, but for women cerebral stimulation needed to be involved. In fact women spend more time in the analytical brain to find something funny, once it passed the funny test, the fun centre lit up more than it did for men. The researchers decided that women are more pessimistic in their expectation to find fun and then when they find it they get more reward out of it. Whereas men once they know something is funny, they expect it to be hilarious all the time.
When I think about what I find fun, I can laugh out loud at some of my favourite comedians, some movies had me in a laughing fit and some books, most recently the cat we were minding did some really hilarious stunts with every day items. What I do notice though is that I have to be in the mood for it or open to it, what I found funny one day may not be funny the next, which I guess makes it a whole lot harder to design for.
I will definitely come back to this in future posts. For now I would love to know from you, what do you find fun in general and secondly what do you find fun in work?