Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Geocaching = Smarter Monkey?

I have this daily ritual where I read Fast Company while I'm getting ready in the morning (which is what I should be doing right now). Today they have an article entitled, Are Gamers More Evolutionarily Advanced? Being a gamer, it grabbed my attention immediately.

According to the article, (according to Slate) "human beings, it seems, are engineered to reward themselves with shots of dopamine when they find something new." In turn, "video games, it would seem, operate the same way: since every game's addictive trait is the achievement of a new level or a more advanced opponent."

Whenever I tell people about geocaching, I get one of two reactions: a) "Cool, where do I sign up?" or b) "What's the point?" To be honest, I think some people only answer a) because they're being nice. I get it, digging around in bug-infested bushes for pill bottles sounds absolutely bizarre. Having had these conversations dozens of times now, my canned answer is: It's not what you find, it's the finding that's fun. After reading this article, that statement makes more sense. Finding new things is fun by virtue of them being new.

I don't have any statistics about how many geocachers are also gamers, but some of the cachers I know do game. Regardless, I think the connection stands. Discovery is still discovery, whether you're finding buried treasure or the last package of frozen bacon in the depths of your freezer.

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