Quote from Reddit

ELI5: Why do 5-year-olds (and under) like to watch the same movie every day for months at a time?

One of the things that “Fun” is, is being able to predict a result, and see that prediction be validated.

As a child, they’re still learning a lot of things, so much is not understood and unpredictable. A movie or a show gives them the ability to think about what is going to happen, and then have the show confirm the result.

As an adult, we have learned a lot of things. Our ability to predict the result is not fun because it’s not surprising. The kids shows are simple and predictable, and the joy that we get from confirmation of that prediction is minor because it’s a certainty.

As an adult, I find myself watching the same shows with my daughter over and over. I find myself looking for details, whether it’s trying to build a map of the island in my head in Puffin Rock, or pick out the individual theme songs of the various creatures in Dinosaur Train. Or finding patterns that show changes in the show’s production. I do this because I’m searching for fun, though it’s a bit more work on my behalf, but it’s essentially the same thing that my daughter finds fun in on the surface.

I have a method of guessing what the result is going to be. I know early in the season the production is less regular about playing the theme music for the characters, but has more location and mood based music, while later in the season the character music is dominant, less music is written, and it’s generally more thematic. So early in the season they have music for watching the sun set or walking around on the train, or exploring a new place. Later in the season the music follows the person talking, or it’s the intro theme to the type of story it is (under the sea for instance), but you rarely see music that imparts mood or minor activities, and there’s less music written for a specific incident in a single episode.

I like watching shows with my daughter, I’ve never been the person to just sit her down in front of the TV and go and do my own thing. This means I get to see this, and struggle to find something that interests me. But I still do the same thing, recognize the pattern, predict the result, and feel good when I’m right. For my daughter, it’s the same, but the pattern that she recognizes is trivial to me.

I think it’s very similar to how you develop a taste for music. If you’re unfamiliar with a genre of music, it’s the more ‘pop’ type of music that is appealing. The more popular music is generally simpler, so the patterns are easy to see and predict and get validation for quickly. These kinds of songs are catchy and easy to sing along to even the first time you hear them. It’s kind of fun when a song has a part that you can sing along to, because you can quickly make the prediction that the next verse is going to sound like this one, and get validated. You’re smart, you figured out the pattern.

But as you get more interested in the genre, that catchy music gets dull. It’s predictable. It’s boring. There are other genres of music that have more complex elements to them, but which are common to the genre or the artist. You start to learn these elements and can predict them, and that’s exciting and fun, and you’re understanding it in a deeper way than you could before. As you get deeper into the understanding of these mechanics, you start to appreciate things that a naive observer wouldn’t even have the basis to understand.

This results in things like appreciation of art that is like 4 bands of color but people are willing to buy it for 75 million dollars. Because the people who are looking at it and appreciating it have so much more background that they’re using to evaluate the piece. The naive observer can’t start to even relate to the people who love it. At the same time, the people who love it can’t really relate to the people who appreciate much more accessible amateur art.

The child likes the same movie every day because there’s a lot for them to get out of it.

The adult is just way past the child in terms of what is filtered out and what is remembered and how easily it’s remembered, and how predictable the outcomes of the characters in a children’s show will be that they run out of that excitement quickly, and essentially can’t appreciate it at the same level as a child.

In the same way, many adult shows, with their level of complexity and nuance, can be very boring and confusing to a child because they don’t have the tools to learn and make these predictions and be rewarded for them.

Layering it can help. For instance, if my daughter were to watch a television show that had in the background a bit of a backstory that took a bit of work to put together, created out of hints and things at the periphery of the action, then it would be kind of fun to watch it over and over. The first time through the series you might pick up on some of those subtleties, and then over the course of watching it a few times you might be able to put together what’s really going on behind the scenes. Meanwhile, the child might not even be aware of that deeper story, they can enjoy the basic story.

Peppa Pig does this a bit by cheekily using Ms. Rabbit for pretty much every odd job out there. In something like Paw Patrol, my wife and I have made up backstories to explain away Ryder’s resources, and Mayor Goodway’s incompetence. One idea is Ryder is a juvenile god who is practicing at creating his own world. Another is that it’s a bit of a Coma dream where Ryder fell into a coma during the messy divorce of his parents, represented by Mayor Goodway and Mayor Hummdinger.

But what I’m searching for by playing these little games and taking note of these meta-details is basically the same thing as my daughter gets. And it’s a lot of the same types of content that is directly served to me by a show like Westworld.

Note that some of the movies or shows that you as an adult might like to watch multiple times are typically because there are new things you might learn every time you watch them. Consider also that kids are just a lot less skilled at picking up on those things in the same way, so they can watch the same thing over and over and continue to build on their understanding of it.

It’s not every video. Give a child a show that is a simple 3 minute video and try and have them watch it every day for an hour. You’ll still have a hard time keeping their attention for the first hour. They’ll get bored because there’s nothing new for them to figure out.zeidrich, /r/explainlikeimfive/

The original thread is here.

Quote of the Past

I think the most likely issue is that while there just has to be other life of varying intelligences around the universe given the sheer number of galaxies and stars, the odds of intelligence popping up at the same time are somewhat astronomical.

Our planet’s been around for 4.5 billion years. Homo Sapiens have been around for about 200,000 years. We just started using radio for less than 150 years. There’s a not-negligible chance we may wipe out our own species with engineered disease or war in the next hundred years or so if we don’t get some backup humans off-planet. (Thanks, religious fanatics with modern weapons!) So that’s a mighty short window to broadcast to another civilization.

If you look at history as a 24-hour day, even if two species pop up a couple of seconds from each other, they’ll likely miss the window to communicate with each other.

The only way contact is likely is if intelligent species can survive in a technological era for many thousands of years. That’s going to require other species to be a lot more reasonable than ours is proven itself to be so far.DennyA, Quarter to Three Forums

Quote of the Past

Why do most PC gamers like Steam, but dislike Origin?

There’s something to be said for customer consideration and there’s definitely very little of that when you only sell your games on Origin. Steam is the defacto distribution platform on PC and the vast majority of PC gamers use it. Not only that but they enjoy using it. As such, it makes perfect sense to support it (which is why every single publisher does except EA). It’s simply good for customers. It’s also good for business, as your game will receive more exposure and more sales (which is why Ubisoft still sells their games on Steam, even though they have their own digital distribution platform). It’s a win-win situation.

Imagine if every company only sold its products exclusively through its own storefront. Supermarkets, convenience stores, book stores, Amazon… all would cease to exit. Want to buy a box of Cheerios? Sorry, you have to go to your nearest General Mills store. Want some Colgate toothpaste? Check your local Colgate store. Want a new Nvidia video card? Gotta buy direct from Nvidia. Shopping would be a very inconvenient and irritating process. That’s why people don’t like Origin.Jerykk, Blue’s News Commenter, February 2016

Quote of the Past

About achievements in video games:

Achievements aren’t so much player incentive as they are backdoor statistical aggregation. What makes them annoying is because they’re completely superfluous at best and intrusive at worst.

They’re intrusive because the obvious statistic aggregation pops up, ‘hey, you used the jump key!’ forty times in the first couple of hours, as proof to the publisher that, yes, you played the fucking game, and no, you’re not a vegetable.

They’re annoying because the best way to throw you right out of whatever immersion you’re actually getting from a particularly emotional moment in the game is to have a fucking achievement pop up right in the middle of it. “Hey, your good friend just sacrificed himself for the greater cause, 20 points!”

They’re stupid because just going through the list of achievements for a game is a spoiler for just about everything there is to do in that game. Which would you prefer: Discovering some Cool Thing™ on your own or being told that there’s this Cool Thing™ and then having your experience of it ticked off some like some theme park itinerary?

They’re superfluous because if they’re not skinner box shit, they’re things like “find every collectible in the game” and “complete the game on insanity using only your left pinky toe,” where you wouldn’t do them if the game itself wasn’t fun because nobody in the world gives a fuck about your achievements, and if the game was fun you don’t need any extra incentive to play it.Nalano, RPS forums, July 2012

Quote of the Past

The thing that old people don’t understand is – you know if you’ve never heard Bob Dylan, and someone listened to him for 15 minutes, you’re not going to get it. You are just not going to understand. You have to put in hours and hours to start to understand the form, and the same thing is true for gaming. You’re not going to just look at a first-person shooter where you are killing zombies and understand the nuances.

There is this tremendous amount of arrogance and hubris, where somebody can look at something for five minutes and dismiss it. Whether you talk about gaming or 20th century classical music, you can’t do it in five minutes. You can’t listen to The Rite of Spring once and understand what Stravinsky was all about. It seems like you should at least have the grace to say you don’t know, instead of saying that what other people are doing is wrong.

The cliché of the nerdy kid who doesn’t go outside and just plays games is completely untrue. And it’s also true for the nerdy kid who studies comic books and turns into this genius, and it is also true for the nerdy kid who listens to every nerdy thing that Led Zeppelin put out. That kind of obsession in a 16-year-old is not ugly. It’s beautiful. That kind of obsession is going to lead to a sophisticated 30-year-old who has a background in that artform. It just seems so simple, and yet I’m constantly in these big arguments with people on the computer who are talking about, ‘I would never let my kid do this and this in a video game.’ And these are adults who when they were children were dropping acid and going to see the Grateful Dead.Penn Jillette

I think this quote must be 7 years old by now – but it’s still great.